Leak opponent’s comments leaked to Politico

A politician’s angry outburst about leaks to a newspaper from the inner sancta of Congress has been leaked to the newspaper.

That, at least, is the takeaway from a Politico account of Thursday morning’s “closed meeting” of House Republicans. From Politico reporters Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan:

House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas started the meeting on an angry note. He held up a copy of POLITICO and told his colleagues that “leaks” from conference meetings “are despicable.”

And publishable. First elected in 2002, Hensarling has been in the corridors long enough to know that closed-door gatherings of more than one politician are quasi-public events. He might also consider that waving around a newspaper and screaming about leaks is not an effective approach to suppressing leaks.

Yesterday Politico reported on a dramatic scene at another closed-door meeting of Republican noteworthies. GOPers, according to the account, chanted “Fire him, fire him” after learning that Paul Teller, the executive director of the Republican Study Committee, had been rustling up opposition to the debt proposal of House Speaker John Boehner. The episode, and its public exposure, didn’t please House leadership.

“I don’t like to see Republicans attacking other Republicans,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Politico.

It’s unclear whether those embarrassing leaks were the ones that caused Hensarling’s leaked comments this morning about leaks from yesterday. An inquiry to Shannon McGahn, of the House Republican Conference press office, is awaiting a reply.

Asked about guidelines for self-referencing, Politico Congressional Editor Martin Kady II responded, “We don’t necessarily have hard and fast rules about a self reference to Politico in a story, but in this particular case a member of Congress was holding up our publication and naming us in a newsworthy setting (a closed-door GOP meeting), so we decided the reference to our own publication was appropriate in this story.”

No argument there. The real question is whether Politico’s competitors will care to report that a Republican congressman had endorsed Politico as the Hill’s premier insider publication. A round of Web searching revealed little traction for that particular story.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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