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 liberal firm works with all of the major Democratic campaign committees and hundreds of labor unions across the country, according to its website, and will "help organize remote phone banking and track information and contacts" for Michigan, a state press release said.
But sunlight can kill more than the WuFlu virus:
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.
States across the country have begun contact tracing operations in the hope that wide-scale interviews will unlock crucial information and prevent additional infections. But Whitmer appears to be the first governor to employ a group that typically focuses on politics to help with the task. In Massachusetts, Republican governor Charlie Baker has partnered with the health care nonprofit Partners in Health to conduct contract tracing and track diseases across the globe.
UPDATE 6:45 p.m.: After publication of this article, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration announced that the contract was being rescinded.