E.P.A. Contractor Has Spent Past Year Scouring the Agency for Anti-Trump Officials
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: December 24th, 2017
One of the top executives of a consulting firm that the Environmental Protection Agency has recently hired to help it with media affairs has spent the past year investigating agency employees who have been critical of the Trump administration, federal records show. The firm, Definers Public Affairs ... specializes in conducting opposition research, meaning that it seeks to find damaging information on political or corporate rivals. A vice president for the firm, Allan Blutstein, federal records show, has submitted at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests to the E.P.A. since President Trump was sworn in. Many of those requests target employees known to be questioning management at the E.P.A. since Scott Pruitt, the agencys administrator, was confirmed. Mr. Blutstein, in an interview, said he was taking aim at resistance figures in the federal government, adding that he hoped to discover whether they had done anything that might embarrass them or hurt their cause. Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman at the E.P.A., said [Definers] signed a $120,000 no-bid contract to monitor and collect news coverage about the agency. The contract, which was awarded this month, is part of an unconventional news media operation that Mr. Pruitt has set up at the agency as he tries to get a handle on the coverage of him by newspapers, including The New York Times, and criticism by Democrats in Congress and environmental groups.
Note: The EPA is one of three federal agencies reported to have been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of public perception.