Earlier this week we looked at the major snafu going on in Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration awarded a lucrative contract to one of her campaign’s vendors to trace coronavirus cases. The contract was given to Great Lakes Community Engagement, who was set to turn the work over to long-time Democratic consultant Mike Kolehouse. After alarm bells started going off over the idea of such a liberal outfit collecting that amount of personal data about Michigan voters, the contract was canceled. Now, in the aftermath of the entire mess, Whitmer is claiming that she has no idea how Kolehouse ended up with that sweet arrangement. It must have been the decision of the state’s Health Department. And wait until you hear what’s going on with Kolehouse himself.
Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer denied responsibility after her administration awarded a coronavirus-related contract to a prominent Democratic consulting firm, blaming the decision on the state’s health department.
“The department thought that that vendor was the best one for some reason. I don’t know what that reason was, but I do know that the Department of Health and Human Services does not have a political bone in their theoretical body,” Whitmer said during a Wednesday press conference. “When it was brought to my attention, I told them to cancel it.”
The Whitmer administration on Monday announced that it had awarded a contract to Great Lakes Community Engagement to conduct contact tracing in the state.
This is at least the third version of the story that we’ve heard. Originally, we heard that Whitmer’s administration cooked up the idea. But Whitmer denied that and suggested that the decision to award the contract to Kolehouse’s outfit was made by the State Emergency Operations Center. But they almost immediately denied the claim, saying they had never approved the vendor. Now the finger is pointing at the state Health Department, who doesn’t seem inclined to comment on it thus far.
Couldn’t we just clear all this up by asking Kolehouse himself? That’s going to be a lot harder than you might think at first because he’s basically deleted his entire online presence in a matter of 48 hours. If you look for the website of his company (the one that was about to pocket nearly $200,000 from this deal) you’ll get a 404 error. The entire website is gone. He also wiped out his social media accounts and is not answering emails.
On Tuesday the Whitmer administration terminated a door-to-door pandemic tracing contract awarded to Great Lakes Community Engagement, an organization led by Kolehouse, just one day after its announcement. Within 24 hours of the cancellation, Kolehouse, who was set to take in nearly $200,000 in the deal, took down the website for his consulting firm, K2K strategies, as well as his Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. He did not return multiple requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon and declined to answer questions about the contract, which would have tasked him with collecting sensitive health data, from the Washington Post and Crain’s Detroit.
You know, for a “totally nonpartisan” vendor with nothing to hide, this is certainly some suspicious behavior. If everything was above board as Whitmer claims, why on Earth would Kolehouse suddenly scrub his entire presence from the face of the web? Won’t that make it harder for his many other clients (I’m assuming he has more) to reach him and conduct business? Also, by refusing to answer questions from the media, he’s sort of leaving the Governor twisting in the wind here.
Keep in mind that all of this is playing out at that same time that the Michigan legislature is moving to potentially try to strip the Governor of many of her emergency powers. Emperess Palpatine, I mean Whitmer, may not be looking like such a hot choice to be Joe Biden’s running mate at this point, even after backing down on some of the restrictions she’d previously placed on the citizens of her state.