EPA inks $120k contract with Republican opposition research firm

EPA inks $120k contract with Republican opposition research firm
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has hired a Republican opposition research firm to help the agency’s communications department.

Federal records show the EPA will spend $120,000 on its contract with Definers Corp., a research firm based in Arlington, Va. Mother Jones was the first to report news of the contract on Friday.

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Officials with the firm told Mother Jones that EPA will utilize a media-tracking tool called “Definers Console,” which marketing materials promote as a “war room” for following media coverage of its clients.

“Definers has been contracted to provide media monitoring services through our Console by the EPA,” a company official told Mother Jones. “We provide the same service to a number of corporate and non-profit organizations.”

An EPA spokeswoman said that the contract with Definers is for “media monitoring/newsclip compilation.”

Defenders Corp. is a Republican-run public affairs firm that “leverages unmatched experience and relationships with the top movers and shakers in government and media both inside and outside the Beltway to help you succeed,” according to its website.

The company was founded by Matt Rhoades, who ran Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, and Joe Pounder, a former research director at the Republican National Committee.

Employees at the firm have previously worked for a handful of other GOP presidential candidates — including those of Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package MORE (Fla.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' Meghan McCain says Ben Carson should be developing brain cancer treatment, not working at HUD Graham urges Trump not to abandon infrastructure talks with Democrats MORE (Ariz.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — and political committees supporting the campaigns, according to biographies on the company’s website.