The PJ Tatler

Issa press secretary in hot water for secretly sharing emails with NYT reporter (Update: Issa fires Bardella)

UPDATE: Roll Call is reporting that Rep. Issa has just fired Bardella.

Rep. Darrell Issa’s press secretary Kurt Bardella is in a lot of hot water today over the disclosure he has been sharing hundreds of private E-mails with New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich who is writing a book. Bardella reportedly blind copied Liebovich on many E-mails, most of which were not meant to be sent to reporters. Leibovich’s agent says his book is about the corruption of  Washington culture.

Issa has say  he would ‘get to the bottom’ of exactly what Bardella shared with Leibovich. The meeting my be as early as today.

The charges, if true, would be an extraordinary breach of privacy for a press secretary.  The issue may be further inflamed by the fact that the controversy includes a New York Times reporter. The Times’ has taken many pot shots at Issa and conservative lawmakers with their plans to force more transparency in government programs, with a specific focus on the Obama administration.

It’s also the second flap for  Bardella in as many months. A January story circulated in which Howard Kurtz, the Daily Beast’s Washington bureau chief, thought he was conducting an interview with Issa when in fact it was Bardella.  Bardella later called it “an honest mistake.”

The latest controversy could cost him his job.  As the press secretary for the Chairman of the powerful house committee, he is part of a program by Republicans to force more openness in government, not secrecy.  His private project with the Times reporter would appear to be at odds with his boss’ mission.

Politico, which broke this story Sunday night, reached Dean Baquet, the Times’ Washington bureau chief. He said, “We don’t discuss sources at all, as a matter of principle.”  Bardella isn’t talking.