Firm Whose Staff Scoured EPA Employees’ Emails Loses Media Contract

"WASHINGTON — A consulting firm has pulled out of a federal contract to provide media monitoring services to the Environmental Protection Agency after it was disclosed that a lawyer among its top executives had been investigating agency employees critical of the Trump administration.

Joe Pounder, the president of Definers Public Affairs, said in a statement on Twitter that his company’s $120,000 contract with the E.P.A., which it was awarded this month, had become a “distraction.”

The contract came under scrutiny because of the company’s links to America Rising, a Virginia-based corporation and Republican political operation with several offshoots that have investigated E.P.A. officials. One lawyer on the company’s staff, Allan Blutstein, sent a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to the E.P.A. asking for email correspondence by employees who had been publicly critical of the Trump administration’s management of the agency."

Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman report for the New York Times December 19, 2017.


"EPA To End Controversial Contract With Conservative ‘Media Monitoring’ Firm" (Washington Post)

"EPA: Republican PR Firm Backs Out Of Contract" (Greenwire)

"EPA Chief Sweeps Office For Bugs, Installs High-Tech Locks" (AP)

"Dems Ask EPA To Terminate Contract With GOP Publicity Firm" (The Hill)

Source: NY Times, 12/20/2017