The Whitmer Administration denies they plan to share confidential health info with Democrat allies. This scheme was discovered when Livingston County Commissioner Wes Nakagiri completed his training to be a volunteer contact tracer for COVID-19 mitigation.
In a statement to WHMI, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) asserted that Democrat-aligned NGP VAN was no longer under consideration to provide database and phone banking services. Below is Nakagiri's response to WHMI's inquiry about this MDHHS denial.
April 19, 2020
Mr. Jon King
P.O. Box 935
Howell, MI 48844
Dear Mr. King,
Thank you for your interest in investigating the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 contact tracing program.
As you know, I have taken an active role in promoting this volunteer program. I have signed up myself as a volunteer. And as a County Commissioner, I sponsored an amendment requiring non-essential county employees, who are being paid to stay at home, to help with this important mitigation effort.
In response to my concerns that the State of Michigan would be storing citizens’ confidential health data in a Democrat voter database, you provided me with a statement from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
MDHHS asserts that the Whitmer administration is no longer considering the use of the Democrat voter database to store protected health information. This assertion is at variance with the training program that was distributed to volunteers. If one reads the training documents it is clear that the state is training volunteers to use the Democrat voter database and the Democrat phone banking system.
I’ve posted the entire training document at https://www.commissionerwes.com/index.php/media-release/41-whitmer-shares-private-heath-data-with-democrat-allies. I urge interested citizens to view slides 37 through 46 as they specifically show training for the Democrat database and phone banking system. (NGP VAN, along with its Open Virtual Phone bank affiliate, is a company that only works with Democrats.)
These slides clearly show the training is specifically for NGP VAN and Open Virtual Phone Bank. There is no discussion that volunteers will have to retake the training because the state will be using another database/phone system. Why would the state waste a volunteer’s time during this crisis, training them to use the NGP VAN and Virtual Phone Bank when they weren’t the chosen vendors? One would have to suspend all rational faculties to conclude that the state was not planning to use the Democrat database/phone system for political benefit. I am confident that any reasonable person also would conclude the Whitmer administration is now trying to cover their tracks after having been caught.
It is important to note that NGP VAN/Open Virtual Phone Bank is not some randomly selected company. There are pre-existing relationships here. The entire executive branch (Governor Whitmer, Secretary of State Benson, Attorney General Nessel) used NGP VAN for their political campaigns. It seems that political patronage is interfering with resolving Michigan’s COVID-19 crisis.
It has been 3 weeks since I volunteered to perform contact tracing. In this span of time precious little has been accomplished by the Whitmer administration. And now, her administration claims that volunteers will need to be retrained before they can be deployed. It has been truly frustrating to see government in action, or should I say government inaction?
Contact tracing has long been a valuable tool in fighting a communicable disease outbreak. The Whitmer administration should just focus on expanding existing contact tracing, rather than trying to simultaneously share confidential health information with her Democrat allies. Injecting politics into this crisis and then trying to cover it up further erodes citizens’ trust in government.
Not all states are as partisan as Michigan. One week ago, the state of Massachusetts implemented an expanded contact tracing program. Massachusetts selected three companies to help with their program. They selected Partners in Health (a 4-star rated charity), Accenture (a Fortune 500 business providing services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations), and Saleforce.com (a technology company providing customer-relationship management services that also sells a complementary suite of enterprise applications focused on customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development.) While Michigan selected a partisan political company, Massachusetts selected two non-political businesses and a reputable charity.
As the Whitmer administration struggles with how to use this public health crisis for partisan political advantage, Massachusetts is already up and running with their expanded contact tracing program.
Let’s keep politics out of this crisis, just focus on policy, and deliver for all of our citizens.