IOWA CITY, Iowa – After facing a workforce shortage for months, Iowa awarded an emergency $2.3 million contact-tracing contract to a company that has worked for the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Gov. Kim Reynolds and is owned by a Republican insider.
The Iowa Department of Public Health selected Iowa City-based MCI for the two-month contract out of 14 applicants, saying it submitted the best proposal and that its political connections were not considered.
The company is expected to supply 200 contact-tracers to supplement the hundreds of public health workers who have failed to keep up with Iowa's fast-growing virus caseload. The first 60 graduated training and were beginning state work Friday.
MCI had pitched its services to Iowa officials since the beginning of the pandemic and says it does contact-tracing and management in six other states, including Alabama and Louisiana.
MCI is owned by GOP donor Anthony Marlowe, who has boasted that it played a key role in Trump’s 2016 victory and was among the state’s top backers of Trump’s unsuccessful reelection bid.
The contract, awarded after an expedited two-day bidding process, lasts only through January and will pay the company $36,400 daily, according to a copy released Friday.
Marlowe was an Iowa delegate to the Republican National Convention in August who spoke during the roll call vote as the state supported Trump's renomination. He said his company had grown from 400 employees in 2016 to 4,000 “thanks to your explosive economic policies.”
MCI subsidiary Mass Markets has been paid $1 million by Trump’s campaign for telemarketing and data services since 2016, campaign finance records show.