Runestad sends letter to AG asking for investigation into administration contract

‘This entire episode is troubling’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Tuesday sent a letter to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asking that she open an investigation into a recent decision by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to ignore the state’s procurement process.

The administration chose the firm Great Lakes Community Engagement to manage a large-scale public health tracing effort.

“Great Lakes Community Engagement is run by a Michigan-based Democratic consultant who conducted nearly half a million dollars’ worth of business with the Michigan Democratic Party in the 2018 election cycle,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “The administration hiring a Democratic campaign organization with taxpayer dollars to collect the personal information of Michiganders is troubling, to say the least.”

Runestad said that the reported no-bid nature of the contract and the secretive process behind it should raise eyebrows. The governor has stated that the contract went through the Department of Health and Human Services, and not through the State Emergency Operations Center — which is overseen by the Michigan State Police — where it should have been authorized.

“When viewed in its entirety, this entire episode is troubling,” Runestad said. “I have long pushed for more public transparency — regardless of party. Especially in times of distress, Michiganders are best served when they can trust the openness and honesty of their governmental institutions.

“For that to be the case, an honest investigation into the matter is not only warranted, but required.”