As you may recall, a huge stir erupted in the Beltway after it emerged that GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s lead flak had been sharing reporters’ emails with an author working on a book about Beltway insider culture. Issa subsequently fired the flak, Kurt Bardella, and there were days of criticism, even from Republicans, of the conduct of Issa’s office.
This was a big deal, because Issa, as top GOPer on the House Oversight Committee, is leading GOP investigations into the White House, and Dems seized on the Bardella mess to raise questions about the integrity of Issa’s office.
Now Issa has quietly rehired Bardella, albeit into a different role.
Fishbowl DC reported this morning that Bardella will resume working for Issa, and now a spokesman for Issa, Frederick Hill, confirms in an email that the report is accurate:
Kurt Bardella has accepted a position as a Professional Staff Member with the Oversight Committee. He will work under the committee’s General Counsel and not as a spokesman or taking media inquiries.
Issa fired Bardella after launching an internal office probe into reports that Bardella had improperly forwarded private emails from other reporters to New York Times writer Mark Leibovich, in order to help him with his book about how Washington workks. Issa the declared that Bardella’s “actions were highly inappropriate” and constituted “a basic breach of trust with the reporters.” Bardella’s actions even infuriated Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Issa’s office has been locked in high profile combat with the White House and the media for months, and at times, it has appeared that Issa has been on the losing end. The New York Times recently published an expose into his business dealings, and the Post recently accused him of overreaching in his investigative role As Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Weisman recently remarked: “Dems feared Daryl Issa as the grand inquisitor. Now all his energy seems directed at defending himself.”
This will only add to the controversy. Though Bardella is returning in a different role, Dems are likely to pounce on his return to ask why Issa has seen fit to rehire someone who he recently condemned for “highly inappropriate” actions and a “basic breach of trust” with the press corps.