The more we learn about Gretchen Whitmer’s no-bid contract sending tax dollars to her political consultants to access private patient health data, the more corruption we uncover.

Now, following an investigation by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), one of Whitmer’s highest ranking political staffers has lawyered up and refused to cooperate with investigators.

The OAG is investigating the state’s secret decision to award a no-bid contract to organizations affiliated with Kolehouse Strategies, organizations closely linked to Governor Whitmer’s political campaign efforts. The contract was signed without going through the legally required State Emergency Operations Center approval process, and was only canceled when it was exposed by the press.

It’s time for Whitmer to produce her high ranking administration official, Andrea Taverna, to testify and cooperate fully with the OAG and the legislature’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) investigating the scandal – or to fire Taverna and clean house at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Taverna, the MDHHS Senior Advisor on Opioid Strategy, was identified by the OAG as the staffer primarily in charge of contact tracing. When approached with questions from the OAG, Taverna hired a lawyer and has subsequently refused to cooperate with the state investigation.

High ranking officials with nothing to hide don’t “lawyer up,” and they don’t hide from investigators. If Whitmer can’t convince Andrea Taverna – her own staffer– to fully cooperate with investigators, she should fire her immediately.

More than ever during the COVID-19 public health crisis, Michigan taxpayers and the families that MDHHS is meant to serve deserve answers from the Whitmer Administration. They deserve a department they can trust. So far Whitmer’s delivered neither.


Tony Daunt

Executive Director

Michigan Freedom Fund