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Michigan governor gets exposed awarding coveted COVID-19 contracts to Democratic organizations, forced to rescind offers

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Even one ran by a Democratic operative who wished the coronavirus on President Trump

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer awarded coveted coronavirus contact-tracing operation contracts to two Democratic consulting firms, then later rescinded the agreements after it was revealed her campaign had a relationship with one of the firms.

Whitmer's administration announced in a press statement:

[The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services] is contracting with Great Lakes Community Engagement, a firm that specializes in outreach campaigns to engage citizens, and Every Action VAN, a voter/individual contact platform used by non-profits, to provide software to help organize remote phone banking and track information and contacts.

What the statement did not include was that Every Action VAN is part of NGP VAN, a data firm that works with major Democratic campaigns and labor unions. The organization is run by Stuart Trevelyan, a longtime Democratic operative who worked in the Clinton White House and is currently helping Joe Biden's campaign, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Excluded from the statement was also the fact that Whitmer's own campaign has worked with NGP VAN, as recently as 2019.

Meanwhile, Great Lakes Community Engagement is run by Democratic consultant Michael Kolehouse. The well-known Democratic operative has previously wished that President Donald Trump would "get Coronavirus ASAP," Fox News reported.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel reacted, "This is who @GovWhitmer is giving state contracts to?"

State lawmakers had more poignant concerns. For example, GOP state Rep. Shane Hernandez wanted to know if Whitmer bypassed state protocol outlining how to properly award contracts.

"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," Hernandez said, the Detroit News reported. "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."

In response to the growing criticism, Whitmer's office announced late Tuesday that she would rescind the contracts.

A spokesperson for Whitmer said the state agency tasked with emergency response would issue new contracts.

"This contract should have been approved by the State Emergency Operations Center. This issue is being corrected, and a different vendor and software platform will be selected by the SEOC," the spokesperson said, the Free Beacon reported.

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