Gov. Whitmer Faces Backlash After Giving Democratic Firm a Taxpayer Funded Contract for COVID-19 Data

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Posted: Apr 22, 2020 3:30 PM
Gov. Whitmer Faces Backlash After Giving Democratic Firm a Taxpayer Funded Contract for COVID-19 Data

Source: Dale G.Young/Detroit News via AP

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) is under fire again, after a controversy surrounding contracts for consultants hired to run data for the state of Michigan during COVID-19. Gov. Whitmer announced on Monday that a $200,000 no-bid contract would be signed and would allow subcontractors to be hired to help track data surrounding COVID-19, mainly those who have contracted the virus and who they may have interacted with. After Gov. Whitmer announced the contract, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services revealed that the data collection program would be spearheaded and overseen by Great Lakes Community Engagement, which specializes in data and is run by a high-profile Democratic operative in Michigan. The program was set to be co-managed by EveryAction, an operation that is closely allied with NGP VAN, which is essentially the technology bolster for the Democratic Party. 

The contract’s rollout triggered justified suspicions from GOP lawmakers and operatives, given the stature of NGP VAN’s work within the Democratic Party; political incentives were certainly present. Indeed, Gov. Whitmer also used NGP VAN in her 2018 gubernatorial election campaign:

Following the criticism, Gov. Whitmer promptly rescinded the data contract:

Even after the walk back, Gov. Whitmer and her administration insist that the hiring of such a high-profile Democratic firm was not a political move, nor would any data be used to further a political agenda. Justified skepticism of Gov. Whitmer’s remains, especially as she prepares to potentially accept a vice presidential bid from presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

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