Definers Public Affairs, the GOP opposition research firm recently awarded a $120,000 contract by the EPA, is closely tied to the firm that ran an online campaign to push EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Senate confirmation campaign. In December, America Rising Squared (AR2) launched the confirmpruitt.com website which has since been deleted. An archive of the website is available here.
Definers was created in 2015 by Matt Rhoades (Founder) and Joe Pounder (President). Pounder is also the CEO of America Rising Corp where Rhodes is listed as a board member. America Rising Squared Executive Director Brian Rogers is also a Senior Vice President at Definers. The group also runs a Political Action Committee – America Rising PAC. Whereas the services provided by the America Rising organizations are aimed the world of campaign politics, Definers was created to provide the same services to the corporate world.
America Rising is the opposition research firm used by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). Scott Pruitt chaired RAGA from 2012-2013 and was a member of the group’s executive committee until 2015 . RAGA has paid America Rising $194,562 since 2014 according to IRS filings reviewed by Documented.
The Definers contract with the EPA was first reported by Mother Jones. This weekend, Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman of the New York Times reported that a lawyer for America Rising has been filing Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act requests with the EPA for the emails of staff who have criticized actions taken by Pruitt.