- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa said Tuesday he had fired his deputy communications director after learning that he shared e-mail correspondence from other reporters with a New York Times journalist.

The California Republican, who chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is the House GOP’s chief investigator, said he fired Kurt Bardella because his sharing of reporter e-mails with Times journalist Mark Leibovich was “a basic breach of trust with the reporters it was his job to assist.”

Mr. Issa said in a statement that Mr. Bardella had received permission from his supervisors to participate in a book project with Mr. Leibovich, but that no one in his office was aware, until the committee was contacted by the publication Politico on Friday, that that entailed sharing e-mails.

He said an initial review found no evidence that Mr. Bardella had provided Mr. Leibovich with internal committee or congressional documents or conversations.

“The inappropriate information shared … appears to have been limited to Kurt’s own correspondence with reporters,” Mr. Issa said.

He said Mr. Bardella had explained to him that he saw his participation in Mr. Leibovich’s book as an opportunity to contribute to a narrative about what it is like to work as a press secretary on Capitol Hill, and “was not about offering salacious details designed to settle scores or embarrass anyone.” Mr. Issa said his review of the materials supported that characterization.

According to a Washington Post profile, Mr. Bardella, 27, worked as press secretary for Rep. Brian P. Bilbray, California Republican, and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, before joining Mr. Issa’s staff in January 2009.

In July 2009, Politico named Mr. Bardella one of Capitol Hill’s “50 Politicos To Watch.” “My goal is very simple,” he told the New Yorker in January. “I’m going to make Darrell Issa an actual political figure.”