CommunityThe Bullpen

Issa’s Staff Problem

This couldn’t happen to a nicer guy:

Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has launched an inquiry into whether spokesman Kurt Bardella improperly shared e-mails from other reporters with a New York Times reporter writing a book on Washington’s political culture, POLITICO has learned.

Bardella has been cooperating extensively with the Times’s Mark Leibovich on the book, and Issa told POLITICO Monday that he would “get to the bottom” of exactly what Bardella shared with Leibovich.

Aides close to the office say Bardella’s job hangs in the balance of the internal probe.

Issa, Bardella and Leibovich all were given several opportunities by POLITICO to deny that the e-mails were improperly shared. Bardella and Leibovich declined comment. Issa says he simply does not know.

You may remember Bardella from that New Yorker profile of Issa, when he came off like a complete jerk:

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. They’re adjusting to a time that demands less quality and more quantity. And it works to my advantage most of the time, because I think most reporters have liked me packaging things for them. Most people will opt for what’s easier, so they can move on to the next thing. Reporters are measured by how often their stuff gets on Drudge. It’s a bad way to be, but it’s reality.” […]

Bardella set out to promote Issa in Washington. “My goal is very simple,” he said. “I’m going to make Darrell Issa an actual political figure. I’m going to focus like a laser beam on the five hundred people here who care about this crap, and that’s it. We’ve been catering more to that audience, so Darrell can expand his sphere of influence here among people who track who’s up, who’s down, who wins, who loses. Then we can broaden that to something more tangible afterward.”

Interesting choice of words, “catering.” You knew this kid was so full of himself that he’d flame out someday. It took quicker than I thought.

Question: should I be laughing more at Bardella, or Mark Leibovich, who willingly took emails from other reporters? Nobody comes out looking good.

UPDATE: And Kurt Bardella has now been fired. Maybe he’ll write a book with exclusive copies of reporter emails soon.

Previous post

Polling: Youth-Labor Coalition Is the Voice of the People of America

Next post

A Teamster Turned Me Into A Newt

David Dayen

David Dayen