During a Tuesday COVID press conference Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine was asked by WMFD-TV:
Governor, Five Texas Republicans sued Texas Republican Governor Abbott over a $295 million contact tracing deal signed during the early months of Coronavirus pandemic. Legislators say the Governor skirted separation of powers , agreeing to a contract without following state statutes.
As you know, I’ve been waiting for months now for information on our contract with the company assisting Ohio with contact tracing – Partners in Health. I have to assume that is a multimillion dollar contract and our audience is interested in understanding the length and value of the deal.
How much have we paid Partners in Health, how much are we obligated to pay them and how long is the contract?”
Governor DeWine answered:
I don’t know the answer…but we certainly can get that answer. I don’t see any reason why we can’t get that answer next – on Thursday. I would point out Partners in Health – while you’ve kind of highlighted them with some questions – and I talked about them several times because they have done this worldwide, this type of activity.
But, the tracing relies really on our local health departments – they’re the ones that are doing most of the hiring. We have come in and hired tracers so that we can – if a county is overrun, if something happens – so that we can put tracers in there. So we hire, they hire, Partners in Health have played some role as far as advising because we respect the work they do in that particular area. But we will get you that information.
A record request was made to the Ohio Department of Health on April 26 regarding the state’s agreement with Partners in Health (PIH).
On May 21 the reporter from WMFD-TV asked Governor DeWine about the relationship with Partners in Health, particularly if it made sense given the organization’s penchant for altering the fundamentals of capitalism, citing it as a source of structural violence resulting in many societal ills.
OH @GovMikeDeWine makes every excuse imaginable when asked why he partnered with a Marxist group.
Great question from Jack Windsor, WMFD. pic.twitter.com/RvqeOfnyTg
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) May 22, 2020
If the PIH philosophy and thirst for its definition of social justice wasn’t intriguing enough, when Founder Paul Farmer was discovered to be a purveyor of liberation theology, the lid of public interest blew off.
Then, Ohioans discovered the roster of PIH donors included Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Open Society Foundations, that the Clinton Foundation had contributed previously – and Chelsea Clinton is a Trustee.
Suddenly the conservative republican DeWine marketed himself to be during the 2018 gubernatorial election looked even more questionable. Not that liberation theology is inherently a poor choice or that capitalism cannot be improved – but that the behavior seemed to follow a pattern that lacked integrity between who DeWine marketed himself to be and who he actually had become as the state leader.
It remains a mystery why the state has stalled on delivering information regarding the secretive relationship with the Massachusetts company. Another enigmatic response is the difference between Governor DeWine’s handling of the fallout surrounding House Bill 6 – the bill that was passed, it is alleged, by dark money that influenced legislators to approve a bailout for the energy company approved by a Speaker of the Ohio House that is said to have bought support for the energy company’s favorable treatment.
DeWine was pressed regarding how to handle the energy legislation – legislation that, if repealed would, supposedly increase energy cost to consumers by at least double-digits if repealed. The Governor asked state lawmakers to repeal the legislation and start over because the people and processes involved were nefarious.
Yet when asked why he would align with a group that sees the foundation of America’s economic and inherently bad and needing to be abolished, Governor DeWine was able to brush off differences between PIH Fonder Paul Farmer’s beliefs. “You don’t have to accept the ideology of Paul or anyone else, but what I’m interested in is getting things done” said DeWine when asked why he’d approve a relationship that goes against the grain of conservative beliefs.
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