HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will call for the cancellation of a controversial $11 million COVID-19 outreach contract claiming the issue has become overly politicized.
FOX 26 was the first to investigate the contract with Elevate Strategies LLC. - a one-woman firm with a short track record and few resources who was awarded the deal after having traditional financial standards waived by the County.
RELATED: Serious questions emerge around $11 million Harris County COVID-19 contract
Critics said the contract began failing the "smell test" after FOX 26 revealed that Elevate actually finished second in the head-to-head competition behind The University of Texas Health Science Center only to have that winning proposal tossed out by a committee dominated by Hidalgo insiders who favored Elevate, including current Chief of Staff Alex Triantaphyllis.
RELATED: Contract controversy raises voices in County Commissioners Court - What's Your Point?
As for the issue becoming "politicized," a FOX 26 review of public documents revealed at least 12 Elevate subcontractors were past political operatives for Democratic campaigns or organizations including those for Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
RELATED: Allegations fly during Harris County Covid contract dispute
Three firms listed as subcontractors advertise their affiliation with the Democratic party.
The revelations led Rice political analyst Mark Jones and Houston Columnist Bill King to label the contract a "political pass through" of lucrative health communication business to Hidalgo's Democratic allies.
RELATED: Harris Co. judge announces expansion with COVID-19 vaccine incentives amid successful trend
"This has never been about the health of Harris County residents. It's about the political operations of Lina Hidalgo and her supporters in 2022," said Jones.
"These additional revelations are stunning in just how blatant and shameless this bid rigging was," wrote King.
SIGN UP FOR FOX 26 HOUSTON EMAIL ALERTS
FOX 26 has requested a comment from Judge Hidalgo and will report it once received.