House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) Tuesday fired a top spokesman who allegedly shared secret e-mail conversations with a reporter.
Kurt Bardella is thought to have given New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich, who was writing about book about Washington’s political culture, e-mails from his exchanges with other reporters.
“It has become clear that the committee’s Deputy Communications Director Kurt Bardella did share reporter e-mail correspondence with New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich for a book project,” Issa wrote in a statement. “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. As a consequence, his employment has been terminated.”
Issa explained that in reviewing the e-mails, he had spoken with both Bardella and Leibovich, and that there was “no evidence to support speculation that internal committee or congressional documents or conversations were inappropriately shared, that Mark Leibovich ever inappropriately heard or recorded any phone conversation, or that any official rule violations occurred.”
“The inappropriate information shared with Mark Leibovich appears to have been limited to Kurt’s own correspondence with reporters,” he added.
For his part, Leibovich declined to comment on what information he had received from Issa’s spokesman.
“The book is not going to be published for a long time,” he said. “Beyond that I can’t talk about any arrangements I have with sources or subjects for the book.”
In a New Yorker profile of Issa earlier this year, Bardella called some reporters “lazy as hell.”
“There are times when I pitch a story and they do it word for word,” he said. “That’s just embarrassing.”