Public Engagement Group Trust

Public Engagement Group Trust

Background

The Public Engagement Group Trust (PEGT) was a little-known Arlington, Virginia-based group led by Republican opposition researcher Mike Roman. OpenSecrets reported in 2013 that PEGT was part of a web of obscure groups and organizations tied to the Koch Brothers’ funding network.

The group has been dormant since at least 2015, according to a Politico report,1Kenneth P. Vogel. “The Koch intelligence agency,Politico, November 18, 2015. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/l0Ed9 and its website is no longer active. Archived pages of the website show a virtually blank homepage.2Public Engagement Group homepage. Archived August 21, 2017. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/yiqqh

Stance on Climate Change

Public Engagement Group Trust does not appear to have made any official statements on climate change.

Funding

The Public Engagement Group Trust received $3.5 million from the Koch-backed groups Freedom Partners and TC4 Trust during the 2011-2012 election cycle, according to a 2014 investigation by The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics.3Matea Gold. “The players in the Koch-backed $400 million political donor network,” The Washington Post, January 5, 2014. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/H6cEG

They found that the Public Engagement Group Trust controlled an obscure limited liability company called SLAH LLC, through which it received much of its funding.4Robert Maguire and Viveca Novak. “Koch Group’s IRS Report Unlocks A Few Mysteries,” OpenSecrets.org. September 18, 2013. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/z1Sao

According to public IRS Form 990 filings reviewed by DeSmog, in 2012 TC4 Trust gave $1,993,000 to the Public Engagement Group Trust via SLAH, LLC.

IRS Form 990 Filings

Key People

The Public Engagement Group Trust listed only one trustee on its last IRS Form 990 filing in 2013: Mike Roman, a self-described “veteran political consultant and private investigator.”5Nancy Cook. “Oppo researcher leaves White House,Politico, April 28, 2018. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL:https://archive.fo/9FGb5 Roman previously worked as vice president of research for the now defunct Koch-backed organization Freedom Partners,6The mysterious oppo researcher working in the White House lawyer’s office,” Politico, February 11, 2018. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/gHlFG.

Between January 2017 and April 2018, Roman was a special assistant to President Donald Trump, as well as director of special projects and research in the White House.7Michael A. ‘Mike’ Roman,ProPublica. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/srAoz In 2016, Roman was hired by the Trump presidential campaign to oversee efforts to monitor polling places for signs of voter fraud.8Ben Jacobs. “Controversial Republican Mike Roman to run Donald Trump’s ‘election protection’,” The Guardian, October 18, 2016. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/NiOCr

Before being employed by Trump, Roman led a Koch network surveillance and intelligence-gathering unit The 25-person unit, which included a former CIA analyst, according to Politico, tracked the activities and canvassing efforts of liberal political organizers and donors. The “competitive intelligence” team also tracked the movements of liberal organizers by collecting geo-data embedded in their social media posts, sources told Politico. The group was disbanded in April 2016.9Kenneth P. Vogel. “The Koch intelligence agency,Politico, November 18, 2015. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/l0Ed9

Earlier in his career, Roman worked for the Republican National Committee and on the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani, and Sen. John McCain.10The mysterious oppo researcher working in the White House lawyer’s office,” Politico, February 11, 2018. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/gHlFG

According to his LinkedIn profile, Brian Stobie, a former associate at the libertarian think tank Charles Koch Institute, was a founder and executive director of the Public Engagement Group Trust between September 2011 and January 2013. Stobie is only listed in the Public Engagement Group Trust’s 990 for the tax year spanning from July 2012 to June 2013.11Brian Stobie,” LinkedIn. Accessed July 31, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Actions

OpenSecrets reported in 2013 that the Public Engagement Group Trust was part of a web of obscure groups and organizations tied to the Koch Brothers’ funding network. “According to the only 990 filed by Public Engagement Group Trust, nearly all of the organization’s $2.7 million in revenues from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, came through SLAH LLC,” OpenSecrets noted. SLAH LLC was an obscure limited liability company controlled by PEGT. 12Robert Maguire and Viveca Novak. “Koch Group’s IRS Report Unlocks A Few Mysteries,” OpenSecrets.org. September 18, 2013. Archived July 30, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/z1Sao

Contact & Address

The PEGT was based at the same Arlington, Virginia, address as other Koch-funded groups including Americans for Prosperity, according to public IRS Form 990 filings:

Public Engagement Group Trust
1320 North Courthouse Road
Room 300
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Phone: (202) 505-3285

Social Media

Public Engagement Group was not active on social media.

Other Resources

Resources

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