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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

More EPA Oppo

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss opposition research.
When Mother Jones first reported in December 2017 that the Environmental Protection Agency had hired a hyperpartisan GOP opposition research firm known for its aggressive tactics to handle the agency’s news-clipping work, the politically appointed flacks in the agency’s press office insisted the decision was about saving money and that the hiring had been handled through normal procurement channels. As we reported Thursday, we now know that was not the case. Internal emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that political appointees in the EPA press office demanded that career staff push through the hiring of Definers Public Affairs—best known for its work for Republican campaigns and recently for its role as Facebook’s attack dog on Capitol Hill, which included attempts to smear George Soros for his critiques of the social-media network.
Now, thanks to another batch of internal emails, we have even more evidence that the motivation for hiring Definers came from the top agency political appointees who were ticked off at the old service because it was collecting too many news clips that portrayed then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt negatively.