Political Correction

Unanswered Questions Follow Fired Aide Back To Issa's Office

August 24, 2011 9:51 am ET - by Matt Gertz

Darrell Issa

This morning, Politico's Mike Allen tweeted the following statement from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): "Kurt Bardella has accepted a position with the Oversight Committee, working under the general counsel and not as a spokesman."

Issa's statement followed a report by FishBowlDC's Betsy Rothstein that Bardella, who was fired by Issa than six months ago after leaking journalists' emails to New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, had been rehired by the House Oversight Committee chairman.

Bardella had previously attracted attention for his statement, reported by The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, that "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."

In a statement that followed an internal investigation of Bardella's actions, Issa acknowledged that Bardella "did share reporter e-mail correspondence with New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich for a book project," which Issa termed "highly inappropriate, a basic breach of trust with the reporters it was his job to assist, and inconsistent with established communications office policies."

Issa also claimed that Bardella's superiors were unaware of his actions, a claim inconsistent with the reporting of Lizza, who says that Bardella told him others in the office were aware that he was sharing reporter emails with Leibovich. This inconsistency has never been explained by Issa's office.

In his statement on Bardella's firing, Issa promised to "rebuild any broken trust with the journalists who cover the important work of our committee." Apparently, he believes that what amounts to a six-month unpaid suspension for Bardella has accomplished that task.

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