In a sign of how that shift has created new opportunities for political professionals, America Rising, the unofficial research arm of the Republican Party, has launched a for-profit venture aimed at helping companies, trade associations and wealthy individuals push back against detractors and navigate sensitive shareholder or public-policy fights.
As political trends seep further into the broader economy, the new company, Definers, is arming clients with the arsenal available to the most well-funded political candidates, including dossiers on their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, tracking tools to monitor what people are saying in traditional and social media, and a rapid-response operation to shape public fights.
The company’s founders are barred from discussing specific clients, but the firm is performing much of the same type of work that its political affiliate, America Rising, does for GOP candidates. This behind-the-scenes work is often aimed at driving media coverage of an individual, issue or entity.
In one instance, the Definers team exposed a potential conflict for Connecticut’s insurance commissioner, whose approval is required to seal the merger between insurance giants Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp., according to its marketing materials. In another, the research firm point out insurers’ larger-than-expected premium increases under the Affordable Care Act.