updated 3/1/2011 3:07:38 PM ET 2011-03-01T20:07:38

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.

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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."

Video: Issa turns investigative power on his staff (on this page)

Issa said in a statement that Bardella had received permission from his supervisors to participate in a book project with 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 Bardella had provided Leibovich with internal committee or congressional documents or conversations, or that Leibovich had inappropriately heard or recorded any phone conversations.

"The inappropriate information shared with Mark Leibovich appears to have been limited to Kurt's own correspondence with reporters," Issa said.

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

Speaking later to reporters, Issa said Bardella was "a very talented individual" who had done good work. But "it's very clear that he had a mistake in judgment thinking that his cooperating with a book somehow didn't follow all the same standards that should have been followed in all cases."

According to a Washington Post profile, Bardella, 27, worked as press secretary for Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, before joining Issa's staff in January, 2009.

In July 2009, Politico named Bardella one of Capitol Hill's "50 Politico's To Watch."

"My goal is very simple," he told The New Yorker in January 2011. "I'm going to make Darrell Issa an actual political figure."

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Video: Issa turns investigative power on his staff

  1. Closed captioning of: Issa turns investigative power on his staff

    >>> darrell issa has fired his spokesman for sharing e-mails. issa just released this statement. it has become clear that the committee's deputy communications director kurt bartella did share e-mails with "new york times" journalist john harris is editor-in-chief of politico and raised his concerns to issa over the weekend. how did that all happen?

    >> our reporters on capitol hill , the authors of the story that ran in politico last night, jake sherman and marion kogan had heard about the possibility of this activity taking place last week on friday and they raised this with kurt cardell and his boss at the. we got rather inconclusive answers in our first interview. i was troubled by this because i run a news organization, or help run an organization that does business with this office every day that our own reporting process may have been compromised, as editor that off fended me. i wrote a letter to congressman issa and he said that he would share his concerns if this in fact is taking place and he would get to the bottom of this. and apparently his internal review that he just released today suggested that that was in fact taking place and that's what led to the spokesman's departure.

    >> it's pretty startling because darrell issa as the new cop on the beat on capitol hill has been very aggressive through kurt bardella alerting us to upcoming investigations or hearings. this has been a very high profile operation. one of the things that happened most recently, is the profile, the january profile of darrell issa , bar dell la was surprisingly open in his disparagement of the media, he said some people in the press i think are just lazy as hell. when i print a story, i do it word for word and that's just embarrassing. it works to my advantage, this again is a quote of bardella i think 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. this partly is a story about us, collectively, about journalism and how it's changed and how bardella may or may not have played on that.

    >> yeah and i should say i don't know kurt bardella was many reporters on our staff here sat politico do, they have had dealings with him, as far as i know the vast majority of them have been professional. i certainly bear no ill will toward him. and i thought that was a very interesting critique, perhaps that they offered to the new yorker, it wasn't especially appreciated by the republican leadership up on capitol hill , they thought it was in politics and kurt bardella was skating on pretty thin ice even before these latest questions arose. my concern really andrea was the sort of leaking of material that politico reporters had an expectation would remain private and that was indeed troubling to me and i certainly understand chairman issa 's decision to part ways with bardella.

    >> he also said, my goal is very simple. i'm going to make darrell issa an actual political figure, i'm going to focus like a laser beam on the hundred people here who care about this and that's it. he thought he was riding a political wave here. and i shows that pride goeth before a fall .

    >> paul begala , he had a phrase during the clinton administration that he was being critical of his own white house . he says sometimes we wear our underwear on the outside. the underwear is supposed to be underneath the pants not on the outside of the pants. that ease a lesson for people that represent politicians that is sometimes you can, as interesting as it is, you're supposed to not make yourself the story, the public official you represent typically is supposed to be the story. and when the opposite happens, oftentimes it's kind of messy. i think today is an example of that.

    >> it's a very good lesson to staff members, that they were not elected, it's the congress members who were actually elected who actually got votes. but john harris , you are part of the story today because you uncovered this. so we thank you for that. it's certainly to congressman issa 's credit that he moved so


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