Darrell Issa Now Investigating Own Spokesman [Updated: He’s Gone]


When the GOP took control of the House this year, Republican congressman Darrell Issa of California, the new chairman of the Oversight Committee, vowed to unleash a cavalcade of investigations into the Obama administration. But Issa has quickly been forced to set his sights a little closer to home: his own spokesman. Twenty-seven-year-old Kurt Bardella is accused of providing New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich with e-mail correspondence between reporters and Issa’s office for a book Leibovich is writing on Washington’s “media-industrial complex.” Politico first learned on Friday that their private e-mails to Issa may have been compromised, and its editor-in-chief sent a letter to Issa on Sunday.

Issa insists he’ll “get to the bottom of” this. When Politico sought answers from Bardella themselves, they got the dodge of someone with something to hide.

Confronted about whether he was sharing the e-mails with Leibovich, Bardella initially said, “Am I bcc’ing him on every e-mail I send out? Of course not.”

Why would Bardella put his relationships with other reporters, and perhaps his job, at risk to help Leibovich? Perhaps his own sincere contempt for the political media, as revealed in a candid conversation with The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza recently:

Over lunch at Bistro Bis, a French restaurant near the Capitol, Bardella was surprisingly open in his disparagement of the media. He said, “Some people in the press, I think, are just lazy as hell. There are times when I pitch a story and they do it word for word. That’s just embarrassing.” ….

Issa now tells Politico that Bardella was “about one nanosecond” from being fired after the New Yorker piece (in which Bardella also said of some models at a consumer electronics expo, “Some of these chicks, though, I just want to feed, because they’re really, really thin. I’m, like, ‘God, eat something!’ “) came out in January, but he kept him around because he’s “an exceptional young person.” If Bardella is shown a box with a gun inside it in the near future, he’ll know Issa has reconsidered.

Darrell Issa probes staff; spokesman Kurt Bardella at center of controversy [Politico]
Rep. Darrell Issa to investigate staffer over media e-mails leaked to New York Times [WP]

Update: Bardella has been fired: