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Scott Pruitt’s Taxpayer Spending Tab Mounts: $120K For GOP Opposition Research Firm to Track News Media

(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Friday, December 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency spent $120,000 to hire a Republican opposition research and PR firm – the latest example of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s questionable spending, which has already sparked an investigation into possible misuse of taxpayer funds.

The Mother Jones reports that EPA signed a no-bid contract with Definers Corp. of Arlington, Va., whose top operatives have worked for number of right-wing politicians and organizations, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Neb., and The Daily Caller. One Definers executive is touted on its website as “among the leaders of the war” on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.  

A spokeswoman for Pruitt told Mother Jones the contract is for “media monitoring/newsclip compilation.” But it could go well beyond that, according to the firm’s website:

Definers provides clients with comprehensive research services, support on relevant issues and creates dossiers on opponents, competitors and agitators. . . . Definers operates a full-service war room that monitors a wide-range of media platforms on a continuous basis. . . .  Our unique war room capability allows us to function in real time to identify and react immediately to opportunities arising out of the news cycle and to flag potential challenges and crises before they take on a life of their own.

“Environmental Working Group monitors and compiles its own news clips using something called a Google search,” said EWG president Ken Cook. “It captures virtually every mention and it’s free. But this is clearly something much different and alarming. Pruitt is adding journalists and the media outlets they work for to his list of targets and he’s brought in some taxpayer-paid hired guns to help.”

Pruitt’s current tab of wasting taxpayer’s money (that we know of):

Total: $202,870

“Pruitt has not only shown a complete disdain for public health and environmental protection, but for the taxpayers’ money, too,” added Cook. 


Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via