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Gov. Whitmer backtracks after awarding coronavirus contract to Dem consultant who wished Trump would contract the disease

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The administration of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is backtracking after getting caught bypassing established procedures in awarding a no-bid contract for COVID-19 contact tracing to a company operated by top Democratic consultant Michael Kolehouse.

Kolehouse previously wrote that President Trump ought to “get Coronavirus ASAP” and that someone with the disease should “do the country a favor and cough on that man,” Facebook posts reviewed by Fox News revealed.

In addition, Kolehouse wrote that someone with the disease should “do the country a favor and cough on that man.”

The network reported that Whitmer’s office awarded the coronavirus tracing contract to Great Lakes Community Engagement, which is run by Kolehouse, while the Washington Free Beacon reported that the state awarded a second contract to track the spread of the virus to Every Action VAN, which is a division of another Democratic-linked firm NGP VAN.

Whitmer’s name has been mentioned as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and you know why; she certainly plays the role of a backhanded party hack and loyalist.

In any event, the reports note further that the Great Lakes Community Engagement contract, to run eight weeks and total $200,000, was to be carried out in conjunction with EveryAction, another Dem operative firm that is linked to NGP VAN.

After reports exposed this blatant Democrat patronage, Michigan officials quickly canceled the contract Tuesday, Fox News reported.

“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 claims on its website.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, describes NGP VAN as “the voter file provider for Democratic campaigns and independent groups up and down ballot.”

Fox News adds:

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?” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote on Twitter.

“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,” GOP state Rep. Shane Hernandez wrote 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.”

Busted, Whitmer’s office tried to claim that no one really knew how or why the contracts would be awarded, without bids, to what amount to a pair of Democratic political firms.

“This contract should have been approved by the State Emergency Operations Center,” a Whitmer spokesperson said by email, Fox News reported. “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.”

Of course, it is.

Separately, Whitmer’s office told the Washington Post, “The executive office is uncomfortable with this vendor for the same reason others are. The public needs to have confidence that this tracing work is being done by a nonpartisan firm. 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.”

Got it; what critics see as blatant political opportunism is really just an attempt to ‘quickly save lives’ and ‘protect the public.’

Only, history belies these flimsy explanations, as Fox News reported further:

There was little doubt that Kolehouse and NGP VAN were no strangers to the Whitmer administration before they secured the contracts. Kolehouse also runs Kolehouse Strategies, which openly advocates on behalf of progressive candidates. In other social media posts, including one on April 1, he has praised Whitmer and called Trump a “maniac.”

“We stand with that women [sic] and her name is Governor Whitmer!” Kolehouse wrote on March 30.

Local county commissioner Wes Nakagiri was the first to discover the shady manner in which the contracts were awarded.

“I’ve been involved with grassroots activists for a little over a decade,” Nakagiri told the Washington Free Beacon. “I’ve never seen anything like this on the conservative side of the ledger, where you’ve got this entity working with governmental bodies, dumping huge networks of information into one database. They’re asking for contact information, they’re asking for who else lives in the house—it’s troubling that this information is being stored in a Democrat-aligned database.”

The scandal comes as Whitmer has taken a lot of heat on the national stage for her authoritarian — and nonsensical — approach to coronavirus-related shutdowns.

She’s even gotten pushback in her own state. Four sheriffs pledged last week they would not “strictly enforce” what they saw as increasingly oppressive shutdown mandates.

Jon Dougherty

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