Democrat Michigan Governor Whitmer has rescinded the contract to a Democrat consultant who had wished Coronavirus on President Trump after outrage from conservatives.
GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has blasted Whitmer tweeting “Kolehouse recently posted on social media that he hopes President Trump gets coronavirus. This is who @GovWhitmer is giving state contracts to?”
Kolehouse recently posted on social media that he hopes President Trump gets coronavirus.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) April 21, 2020
The contract with Great Lakes Community Engagement (an LLC of a Grand Rapids Dem political consultant Mike Kolehouse) says it can be terminated without cause.
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) April 21, 2020
Fox News reports Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration acknowledged Tuesday that normal protocols were bypassed when a no-bid contract for coronavirus contact tracing was awarded by the state to Great Lakes Community Engagement, which is operated by a well-known Democratic consultant Michael Kolehouse — who has previously written that President Trump should “get Coronavirus ASAP” and that someone should “do the country a favor and cough on that man,” Facebook posts reviewed by Fox News show.
The Washington Free Beacon reported earlier Tuesday that Michigan gave a separate contract to track the spread of coronavirus to Every Action VAN, a division of the Democratic data operation NGP VAN. The contract for Great Lakes Community Engagement, which would total $200,000 over eight weeks, was to be executed in coordination with EveryAction, which is tightly linked to NGP VAN’s operation.
“Nearly every major Democratic campaign in America is powered by NGP VAN’s software, including the Obama campaign’s voter contact, volunteer, fundraising and compliance operations in all 50 states,” NGP VAN boasts on its website. The Washington Post has described NGP VAN as “the voter file provider for Democratic campaigns and independent groups up and down ballot.”
NGP VAN has previously exposed secretive and proprietary information due to technical glitches, The Washington Post has reported, including when a software patch was improperly applied.
The contracts raised concerns that Whitmer’s administration was tying confidential health information to a political data gathering operation and that Whitmer, a rising star floated as a possible vice presidential candidate, had circumvented the state’s normal process for awarding key financial resources.
“This is who Gov. Whitmer is giving state contracts to?” asked GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
“I want to know how Gov. Whitmer’s administration decided to hire this company without a competitive bid process, or letting the Legislature — charged with ensuring accountability within state government — know about it,” wrote GOP state Rep. Shane Hernandez in a letter to Whitmer that was first reported by The Detroit News. “I want to know what safeguards the governor has in place to ensure the information gathered during this COVID-19 response doesn’t wind up in the hands of any campaigns.”
Whitmer’s office told Fox News that neither Kolehouse’s operation nor NGP VAN should have gotten the funds, but didn’t explain how the purported mistake had occured in the first place.
“This contract should have been approved by the State Emergency Operations Center,” a Whitmer spokesperson said by email. “This issue is being corrected, and a different vendor and software platform will be selected by the SEOC. The state is committed to ensuring this important tracing work can begin quickly to help save lives, while also ensuring that public health data is safe and secure.”
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