The Trump-led EPA has given a Republican-owned firm a no-bid $120,000 contract, while an executive at that company is investigating the agency to root out employees who are not loyal to Trump.

Under the leadership installed by the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a no-bid, six-figure contract to a company led by a Republican political operative who is conducting a conspiracy-fueled investigation designed to root out Trump enemies within the EPA.

The New York Times reports that Definers Public Affairs was awarded a contract for $120,000, financed by American taxpayers, to collect press clips for the agency.

That same firm’s vice president, Allan Blutstein, has submitted at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests to the EPA over the last year in an attempt to root out what he described as “resistance” figures working at the agency.

For months, Trump has promoted the conspiracy theory that a so-called “deep state” is working within the federal government to undermine his presidency. He apparently believes this vast conspiracy helps explain why his administration has so few accomplishments and his approval rating is mired in the low-thirties.

Federal employees should not use their positions to advocate for partisan political causes, and there is no requirement that a government employee swear loyalty to Donald Trump and his administration. The witch hunt is another manifestation of Trump’s love for authoritarianism, where the entire government is oriented around pleasing him and his whims.

Before Definers was given the contract, another company did press clippings for the EPA, and when that firm made its bid the process was open to other companies. This time, the company indulging in Trump’s fantasies was given the kickback.

Definers is owned by Joe Pounder and Matt Rhoades, longtime Republican operatives. Pounder was research director for the Republican National Committee and on Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. Rhoades was Mitt Romney’s campaign manager in 2012.

Charles Tiefer, a professor of contract law at the University of Baltimore, told the Times that the deal “has crony favoritism and bias written all over it.”

“This is not merely letting the fox into the henhouse,” he added. “This is hiring, at a high price, the fox.”

The entire affair is an encapsulation of the corrupt way in which Trump has again used his office to mismanage tax dollars in order to enrich Republican cronies and conduct paranoid witch hunts of his perceived enemies.


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