The Environmental Protection Agency is canceling a $120,000 “media tracking” contract it recently signed with a Republican public affairs and opposition-research firm amid questions about the firm’s political work and outrage from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The EPA had defended the contract with Definers Public Affairs, saying it hired the firm merely to act as a sophisticated news clipping service. An agency spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the EPA and the company had agreed to terminate the contract. In a separate conversation, the company’s president, Joe Pounder, said the decision was a mutual one.
“Definers offered EPA a better and more efficient news clipping service that would give EPA’s employees real-time news at a lower cost than what previous administrations paid for more antiquated clipping services,” Pounder said in an emailed statement. “But it’s become clear this will become a distraction.”
Pounder also said the firm would no longer offer the service to government agencies, despite the fact that four agencies had expressed interest in similar contracts.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Brady Dennis