‘This would still be working with Mike Kolehouse, so work there isn’t lost—it’s just organized somewhat differently…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Newly released emails prove that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lied when she said that she did not know about her administration’s contract-tracing agreement with a Democratic consulting firm.
Andrea Taverna, a senior adviser in the Michigan Department of the Health and Human Services, said the governor’s office gave “the green light … to move forward with a slightly different organizational arrangement of the contact tracing volunteer work,” BridgeMI reported.
The MDHHS signed the contract on April 20 with Great Lakes Community Engagement, which then funneled the money to Every Action VAN, a left-wing company that manages voter-contact software platforms.
Mike Kolehouse, a Democratic campaign consultant, owns the nonprofit GLCE.
“This would still be working with Mike Kolehouse, so work there isn’t lost—it’s just organized somewhat differently,” Taverna said.
Whitmer’s administration backed away from the contract on April 21, after Republicans criticized Whitmer for sending state money to political allies, who could use the contract tracing to bolster campaign operations for Democratic candidates.
Taverna said the state decided not to sign the $194,250 contract with Kolehouse Strategies, which was already working “pro bono” for the state, but instead opted to sign the contract with Great Lakes Community Engagement.
She described GLCE as a “separate business entity that serves nonprofit and corporate clients, though owned and staffed by the same individuals” as Kolehouse Strategies.
GLCE does not have an online presence, but Kolehouse Strategies does have one, and its website clearly indicates its intention to “elect progressive candidates.”
Whitmer continues to deny her involvement in the contract, saying that the MDHHS and the Michigan Public Health Institute “identified and ultimately approved” the contract.
The governor’s spokesperson, Tiffany Brown, said the email actually shows Whitmer’s worries about paying a Democratic consulting firm to collect data on Michigan’s citizens.
“Based on a previous phone conversation, the governor’s communications director had raised concerns that using a political vendor would be a distraction from the important work that needed to be done,” Brown said.