Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has handed over control of the state’s new contact-tracing operation to one of her own campaign vendors and one of the left’s biggest technology firms. The move has sparked concern that she is using the coronavirus to strengthen the Democratic Party’s data operation, potentially at the expense of public health.
The Whitmer administration announced Monday that it had awarded a contract for contact tracing in the state to Every Action VAN, an arm of the Democratic data behemoth NGP VAN ... The group is run by Stuart Trevelyan, a longtime Democratic campaign operative who worked in the Clinton White House and is currently assisting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign with voter outreach and fundraising, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Whitmer’s own gubernatorial campaign paid NGP VAN nearly $5,000 in 2019, according to state campaign finance records. Every Action is a branch of the firm that works with nonprofit organizations.
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Partnering with Every Action, Michigan hopes to collect information from thousands of individuals across the state to better understand the spread of the coronavirus. Trained volunteers are placing phone calls to those who have been in contact with coronavirus-infected individuals, inquiring about their health and advising them on appropriate precautions.
But state Republicans are raising concerns that the project will give the Democratic firm access to health and other private data of unwitting residents.
There's more at the link.
The public outcry was immediate, and so strong that Whitmer rapidly backtracked.
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.
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The state abruptly canceled the contract Tuesday.
“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.
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“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."
Again, more at the link.
I'm mind-boggled by the sheer chutzpah displayed by the Governor. How on earth did she think she was going to get away with this? Did she really think her opponents were going to turn a blind eye to such malfeasance of office, or roll over and play dead and allow her to ride roughshod over normal State acquisition and purchasing rules and procedures to benefit her own partisan supporters?
From issuing plainly nonsensical (not to mention unconstitutional) orders, to managing the state of Michigan for the benefit of her partisan supporters rather than all its citizens and residents, Governor Whitmer is demonstrating every day that she's unfit for office. I don't know how Michiganders propose to remove her, but they'd better do so as quickly as possible, before she and her cronies ruin or destroy their state around their ears. She's a disaster in the making.