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Missouri pays pandemic consultant more than $500,000

Missouri has paid a consulting firm more than $500,000 in emergency federal funding for pandemic-related costs, despite Gov. Mike Parson saying in early May that an independent foundation was paying the firm.

State payroll records show the McChrystal Group has received $522,000 in federal CARES Act funding from the state, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The Virginia-based company was founded by retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

In early May, Parson said the Missouri Foundation for Health would pay up to $600,000 to the firm. He did not mention that the state would take over the payments on May 31, using the emergency federal aid.

Under a no-bid contract with the state, the McChrystal Group will be eligible to continue being paid nearly $250,000 a month for its work, Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones said.

Parson administration spokesman Chris Moreland said the firm was hired to provide a management structure to coordinate a pandemic response between state agencies and the governor’s Cabinet.

“A unified, whole of government response is needed in coordination with the Missouri health care system,” Moreland told the Post-Dispatch. “Missouri must sustain a coordinated, unified response to ensure Missourians are safe. The specialized capabilities McChrystal Group provides to our response are critical to continued success.”

Moreland said all state agencies participate in forums coordinated by the McChrystal Group to hear new information, analysis and updates on ongoing actions. But he said the firm does not make any policy decisions or generate any data.

Missouri has spent over $1.5 billion of the more than $2 billion it has received as part of the federal aid to respond to the pandemic. Much of the money has gone to counties but it has also been used for such things as meals and lodging for emergency workers, hand sanitizers and masks.

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