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The Environmental Protection Agency has hired Definers Public Affairs, which was founded by GOP insider Matt Rhoades, to monitor media coverage of it and its embattled head Scott Pruitt.

The no-bid contract covers media monitoring and newsclip collection and is worth $120K for DA.

Rhodes was campaign manager for Romney-Ryan 2012 and had earlier served as VP at DCI Group and research director for George W. Bush's re-election campaign.

Joe Pounder & Matt Rhoades(L to R) Joe Pounder & Matt Rhoades

Joe Pounder, who was senior advisor for Marco Rubio's presidential effort and rapid response director for the Romney and John McCain White House runs, is DPA's president.

Pruitt has taken plenty of heat for his close ties to the energy sector and frequent trips using military and private flights.

He returned from a four-day visit to Morocco on Dec. 13, where he talked with government officials about importing natural gas and areas of "continued cooperation," according to an EPA release.

The Energy Dept and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, not the EPA, maintain oversight of the export of American natural gas.