Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer joined SiriusXM hosts Rebecca Mansour and John Carney on Friday’s special edition of Breitbart News Tonight to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hiring of a Republican opposition research firm, founded by former Mitt Romney campaign chief Matt Rhoades, to improve its communications department.
“This is an example of the consultant class in Washington, DC,” Schweizer said. “It’s really a strange phenomenon, if you think about it, to most of us.”
“Most of us, when we think of politics, Rebecca, okay, we see that there are different sides of the aisle,” he told Mansour. “There are Republicans, there are Democrats, liberals, and conservatives. A lot of people that follow politics are passionate about politics. What makes the consultant class different is that while they sort of talk about those things, it’s really a business for them. What I mean by that is, at the end of the day, depending who wins or loses, it doesn’t seem to matter that much because they’re in business together.”
Schweizer compared the situation to professional wrestling, which he has enjoyed for most of his life.
“When you first watch professional wrestling, you think these guys hate each other,” he explained. “They’re hitting each other with chairs. They’re throwing each other out of the ring. But then you start to realize after a while that they don’t actually hate each other. They’re business partners. This is all for show.”
“I’m not saying that everything in Washington, DC, is for show, but a lot of it seems to be. This is a great example of it. You’ve got this consulting firm, not fans of Trump, ostensibly in favor of smaller, limited government – but they’ve now got a government contract from the Environmental Protection Agency to essentially provide a clipping service for the EPA,” he said.
“This is one of the things that drives people nuts about Washington, and that is that there’s all this money flowing around, all these people are making money, and they’re telling us they’re passionate about ideas, but at the end of the day it’s really about making money and getting a paycheck. So it’s hard to take seriously a lot of what the consultants are trying to sell the rest of us,” he said.
Schweizer said he did not know the details of how the firm in question, Definers Corp., won the EPA contract or whether competitive bids were solicited but noted that “a lot of what these contracts swirl around is relationships.”
“You know somebody that’s in government. You have a friend that got appointed to a government position,” he explained. “A lot of these kinds of contracts are oftentimes done on a no-bid basis. They’re not huge contracts, multimillion-dollar contracts, and they call for some kind of specialized, or what they regard as specialized, activity. So they sort of dole them out. It’s one of those things that both sides do, and it’s made people a lot of money. And, of course, this is taxpayer money. It’s sort of the insider game. It’s part of the industry of Washington, DC.”
“You may look at it and say, Rebecca, ‘Okay, $120,000, that’s not a huge amount of money with a big federal budget.’ But this is just one small sliver of what goes on regularly. And on the side of the PR consultants and the messaging people, Obama’s team brought in their friends and gave them large contracts. That’s happening now,” he said.
“Of course, the irony here, as you pointed out, is that these are not particularly Trump friends as it were. These are not people that were Trump supporters. So I would imagine that the contract probably has something to do with somebody at EPA that is running the PR shop or has some senior position, and this is an individual or a company that they wanted to do a favor for,” he speculated.
Carney said he was simply amazed to learn that the EPA hands out $120,000 contracts for news clipping services, given that vast federal agencies have an abundance of staff to handle such tasks.
“I don’t know off the top of my head what the PR budget for the agency is, but I can imagine that it’s pretty large and that they’ve got a large number of employees that are supposed to be handling communications for the agency,” Schweizer ventured. “Why they feel the need to outsource this kind of stuff is sort of beyond me.”
“And, again, it’s one of those things when you ask yourself, ‘Why is there this phrase, the swamp’? Part of that is the actions of members of Congress and the self-enrichment, but a lot of it is just the muck, the muck or the brackish water when you think of a swamp. It’s just all the particles that are sort of floating around in the water. This may be just one particle, but you’re exactly right: there are thousands of them out there, of these kinds of contracts,” he added.
Schweizer noted that some firms are formed by well-connected Republicans working with equally connected Democrats, to ensure they are covered from both sides and have bankable connections no matter which party controls Washington at any given moment. He portrayed this strategy as a feature of the “permanent political class.”
“The permanent political class is made up of congressmen that have been there for, you know, 14 terms, or senators who have been in the Senate for 30 years, but it also includes this kind of activity,” he elaborated. “People that have made a profession out of politics, and the administration may change; it may go from a D to an R, back to a D – but they are still there, doing the same job, juiced in in the same way.”
“I think it’s very, very frustrating, and it shows that when you talk about ‘draining the swamp,’ you’re talking about denying a lot of people sources of income. That’s why there’s so much resistance to it inside the Beltway,” he said.
Peter Schweizer is head of the Government Accountability Institute and author of the best-selling book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.
Breitbart News Tonight airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Eastern.