As Commissioner Nakagiri uncovered Governor Whitmer's COVID scheme, one media organization sounded overly skeptical of his findings. This organization hoped to distract their readers by mentioning he was part of the Tea Party movement and had previously challenged the Republican establishment as he sought the office of Lt. Governor in 2014. It seemed they wanted to portray Nakagiri as a questionable finder of fact. Fortunately for Michigan citizens, their attempt to distract and deflect attention away from the Whitmer scandal failed miserably.
Despite their attempt to cloud the issue, the Whitmer Administration’s corruption could not be swept under the carpet. Nakagiri is not someone who cries wolf without a reason. His professional background as a Mechanical Engineering and Statistician has taught him to be evidence-based. Those who know him personally understand he is thorough and does his homework.
|"It's a good thing Wes Nakagiri was paying attention."|
|Ingrid Jacques, Detroit News, April 23, 2020|
That the Whitmer Administration got caught with their hand in the cookie jar is no longer in doubt. Yes, by withdrawing their crooked contract they conceded they were guilty. Their insidiously clever plot would have stored citizens’ confidential health records in a Democrat voter database, for use by Governor Whitmer and her numerous Democrat allies.
That this happened at all illustrates the moral bankruptcy of this administration. And, that it was attempted during the COVID crisis shows the depth of depravity of this administration and their total disregard for the public trust.
Now, hiding behind a statutory veil of secrecy, Governor Whitmer is refusing to come clean with all the details. You see, the Governor’s office does not have to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. While her intransigence regarding transparency prevents the final chapters of this story to be written, it does not prevent the reader from understanding what has transpired thus far.
What the Whitmer Administration planned to do has been reported on by local, state, national, and international news organizations. Yes, it is a big deal when, under the guise of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, the government obtains confidential health information from its citizens and stores it in a database, for use by Democrat candidates.
The magnitude of the Whitmer scandal cannot be overstated. The story broke on Monday, and by Tuesday she conceded defeat, pulling the plug on the operation. The glare of the media spotlight, along with the forceful attention of State Representative Shane Hernandez turned her dreams of a goldmine of voter data into a nightmare of scandal and corruption.
This article provides the reader with hyperlinks to an assortment of news articles about the Whitmer scandal. This assortment provides what is thought to be a representative sampling of media perspectives. A more comprehensive sampling of news articles can be obtained by entering these terms into an internet search engine: “Nakagiri”, “Whitmer”, “contact tracing”.
This article also provides hyperlinks to Nakagiri’s press releases. One should review these for an in-depth understanding of what Commissioner Nakagiri found, as news articles do not necessarily provide the entire story.
Nakagiri’s initial press release was published on April 17, 2020
Below was added on 4/28/20
Commissioner Nakagiri received an email from a 30 year veteran of Public Health Nursing. She was critical of the Commissioner holding Governor Whitmer accountable. Her email and his response are shown below.
Email from Public Health Nurse
Attn: Wes Nakafiri (sic),
I am a resident of Ingham Co. and have worked in Public Health Nursing for over 30 years. I have volunteered to do contact tracing for Covid 19 cases. This activity which is so vital to keeping people free of Covid 19 will now be slowed in part to your efforts to stop the contract for software programs due to a conflict of interest??? The virus doesn’t care if you are a democrat or a republican, and the software company doesn’t either.
Way to go!! The virus lives on.
JL (For privacy the name has been redacted)
Response from Commissioner Nakagiri
Thank you for reaching out to me and sharing your opinions on Governor Whitmer’s contact tracing scandal. Whether or not we agree on every issue is not important as I value feedback from all citizens. Let me address the key points raised in your April 23, 2020 email.
I generally agree with your statement that contact tracing is “so vital to keeping people free of COVID 19 . . .” During this public health crisis, I have read numerous pandemic-related publications authored by the Centers for Disease Control. It is from these publications that I became aware of the importance of contact tracing. Please note that my support for contact tracing is not unconditional. This Whitmer scandal has taught me there need to be stronger safeguards along with penalties for unscrupulous leaders who would misuse confidential data and abuse the public trust.
Here is another point of agreement. I am in agreement with your statement that, “The virus doesn’t care if you are a democrat or a republican . . .” This is why I, a Republican, signed up to do volunteer work for Governor Whitmer, a Democrat. I saw this contact tracing program as an opportunity to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for the benefit of all Michigan citizens. I made my decision based upon what is best for Michigan citizens, not for any political considerations. In contrast, the Governor saw an opportunity to use this program to further her political ambitions by sharing confidential health records with her political allies.
While we have some points of agreement, it should not be a surprise that we do not agree on all points.
I do not agree with your characterization of the Whitmer Administration’s award of a no-bid contract to a partisan political operative as merely a “conflict of interest.” I characterize this action as an egregious violation of the public trust which degrades the effectiveness of contact tracing. As I see it, the leader of the State of Michigan attempted to use confidential health records for her own political gain and those of her political allies. The magnitude of this corruption cannot be overstated. That she attempted this subterfuge under the guise of mitigating the biggest public health crisis of our time is morally reprehensible.
The vast majority of citizens I know have a low tolerance for the Governor’s reprehensible actions and governmental corruption in general. Yet, I know that not everybody is the same. I understand that there could be others who are more tolerant and may turn a blind eye toward this type of deceit and government corruption. To those citizens, I’ll say, “We’ll have to agree to disagree.”
I respectfully disagree with your assertion that the software company doesn’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat. In fact, the software company does care about political affiliation as it only works with Democrat candidates or far-left liberal causes. There are other software companies that are non-political and would have done the work for free. That it chose political patronage over non-political and cost-effective solutions is a testament to the character, or lack thereof, of the Whitmer Administration.
I applaud your 30 years of work in Public Health Nursing. It is truly a noble field. As a County Commissioner, I have met employees in the Livingston County Department of Public Health. They are passionate about what they do and similar to you, they are committed to defeating this virus.
While I commend you for your many years as a Public Health professional, I differ with your perspective on the confidentiality of personal health records. Public health professionals whom I am acquainted with have vigorously counseled me on the importance of public trust and the need to keep health records confidential. Without confidentiality, the effectiveness of contact tracing is greatly diminished. Whether contact tracing COVID-19, measles, sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis A, or any other communicable disease, confidentiality is an absolute requirement.
It is unclear to me why your view of confidentiality differs from other Public Health officials. I have first-hand knowledge of the importance of confidentiality as I have been twice denied access to view statistical data related to COVID-19. As you are likely aware, this data is stored in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). To this day I have been refused permission to review statistics in this state-controlled database because it contains personally identifiable patient information. While I am willing to sign a legally binding agreement preventing me from disclosing any personal information, I still am unable to view the statistical data. In fact, I am prevented from reviewing information with names redacted. Such denials of access to important statistical information prevent me, as a County Commissioner, from making optimum public policy decisions related to COVID-19.
I would be surprised if there are a substantial number of citizens who would approve of their health records being shared with political candidates. From your email, I conclude that you may not agree with me on this.
Perhaps you’d be willing to elaborate further on the issues you raised in your email. That you tend to downplay the need for confidentiality of heath records interests me greatly, as I have not heard this point of view before. Please feel free to email me again if you are interested in a robust and civil exchange of ideas.