Issa Fires Spokesman Amid E-Mail Controversy
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa fired Deputy Communications Director Kurt Bardella on Tuesday afternoon amid allegations that he inappropriately shared e-mails with a New York Times reporter.
Issa released a statement saying that Bardella’s “employment has been terminated.”
Bardella is alleged to have sent correspondence he had with other reporters to New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich. At this time it is unclear what was in those e-mails.
“Though limited, these actions were highly inappropriate, a basic breach of trust with reporters it was his job to assist, and inconsistent the established communications office polices,” the California Republican said. “After hearing Kurt’s account, speaking with Mark Leibovich, and an initial review of e-mail correspondence there is 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.”
Bardella was a high-profile staffer in Issa’s office. According to a Jan. 24 New Yorker profile of Issa, the chairman referred to Bardella, 27, as his “secret weapon.”
Bardella, who worked for Issa for two years, was quoted in the piece as saying his job was to raise Issa’s profile in Washington, D.C., and “to make Darrell Issa an actual political figure.”
Politico first reported the Bardella e-mails Monday. Bardella had been working with Leibovich since November 2010 on a book about Washington’s political culture. Bardella had sought permission from his supervisors to participate in the book project; however, Issa said that e-mail sharing was not raised as part of that partnership.
“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. “I intend to finish our review and rebuild any broken trust with the journalists who cover the important work of our committee.”
Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.