Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — State Rep. Ann Bollin today said an initial inquiry into the Whitmer administration’s approval of a no-bid contract with a partisan political software vendor has been completed by the Michigan Auditor General’s Office, and she is seeking additional information as a result.
The review, completed by the Auditor General’s Office at Bollin’s request, showed Great Lakes Community Engagement (GLCE) was the only firm considered for the COVID-19 contact tracing project. GLCE is connected to K2K Consulting and Kolehouse Strategies, political consulting companies owned by Donald M. Kolehouse II with strong ties to Gov. Whitmer and other Democratic political campaigns.
“While contact tracing has become the centerpiece of the public health strategy in the battle against coronavirus, the process produces an incredible amount of highly sensitive personal and health data,” said Bollin, of Brighton Township. “It is critical that only the pertinent information be collected and that the information is collected for a restricted purpose – contact tracing for COVID-19. During these uncertain times it is more important than ever to protect the public’s trust.”
The Auditor General’s Office found Kolehouse’s role in the development of the work plan to be uncommon. According to the office’s investigation, Kolehouse sent DHHS what he could offer to them an unsolicited statement of work. DHHS then turned Kolehouse’s statement of work into an official work plan. The Auditor General’s Office noted that it is not typical for a vendor to develop the scope of work.
“There are clearly some red flags here,” Bollin said. “Thankfully, this contract was terminated after the partisan political ties became public, and no public tax dollars were awarded to the governor’s political consultant. The bigger issue it that we clearly have flaws in the system that allowed this to happen. Are there other no-bid contracts that have been awarded to political operatives because the normal procedures for bidding out contracts have been thrown out the window during the state of emergency? I will fight to find the truth.”
The Auditor General’s full response to Bollin’s request can be viewed here.