Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, fired his press secretary for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, because he shared e-mail correspondence with reporters with a journalist working on a book, the congressman confirmed today.
Allegations arose last week that Kurt Bardella, considered one of the top press secretary on Capitol Hill, let Mark Leibovich of the New York Times see his electronic communications with other reporters.
"Though limited, these actions were highly inappropriate, a basic breach of trust with the reporters it was his job to assist, and inconsistent with established communications office policies," Issa stated. "As a consequence, his employment has been terminated."
The congressman said Bardella sought permission in November to help Leibovich with his book the political culture in Washington, D.C., but his approval did not include sharing e-mails from other reporters.
"In explaining his intentions in participating in Mark Leibovich's book, Kurt has told me he saw this as an opportunity to contribute a narrative about what a press secretary does on Capitol Hill and was not about offering salacious details designed to settle scores or embarrass anyone," Issa said. "My review of materials thus far supports that characterization."
Issa said he would work to rebuild trust with reporters who cover his committee.
According to Politico.com, the revelations rattled the relationship between reporters and congressional aides. The web site reported that some members of the news media knew about the sharing of e-mails, and they warned their colleagues to be careful about what they wrote to Bardella.