Tighten Up, Issa.

Remember how in February Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) launched “an inquiry” into Kurt Bardella’s actions and ultimately fired the  spokesman?  Bardella then joined up with Tucker Carlson and the Daily Caller for a brief stint in the role that his Capitol Hill replacement, Becca Glover, had vacated less than 60 days prior.

Now, remember how Issa re-hired his wayward press secretary in August (5 months later)?  Hold that thought.

When news first broke that Bardella was returning to the loving arms of Issa and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a spokesman told Politico’s Mike Allen:

“Kurt Bardella has accepted a position as a professional staff member with the [House] Oversight Committee. He will work under the committee’s general counsel and is not a spokesman or taking media inquiries.”

I bet you can guess what comes next: Bardella is back to working the press.  This morning the non-spokesman spokesman pitched several reporters on an op-ed penned by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL).  Adding incest to insult, the piece he peddled was published by his former employer, the Daily Caller:

From: Bardella, Kurt
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 9:33 AM
Subject: FW: Obama’s Postal Bailout: Chairman Ross Reveals $20 billion price tag in the Daily Caller

Fyi…we got new figures from OMB last night which this op-ed is based on…kb

Chairman Ross in The Daily Caller: High Tab on Obama’s Postal Bailout Plan

“The administration has informed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that under the normal rules for estimating the cost of legislation, commonly known as “budget scoring,” the president’s plan would not reduce the federal deficit by $19 billion over 10 years as advertised by the White House; in fact, it would increase the deficit by $10-20 billion over that same period…

Technically, Issa’s office didn’t lie.  No one claimed that Bardella wouldn’t proactively contact the press – they only said he wouldn’t be taking media inquiries.  Regardless, today’s reunion has ruffled the feathers of some  journalists who were already outraged by Bardella’s re-hire and flimsy job description.

“So unethical. Not only is Bardella emailing press – he’s emailing Daily Caller sh*t around,” said a Fishbowl source who received this morning’s note.  “This is too much,” added the reporter.

UPDATE: Despite two confirmed sources, Issa’s office rejects the notion that Bardella made contact with anyone in the media, claiming the email sourced by FishbowlDC was sent only to Capitol Hill staffers.  To support the case, Frederick Hill, Issa communications director, sent us a screen shot of this morning’s correspondence, complete with BCC email addresses.  Though one could easily debate that a screen shot from a single email doesn’t validate or disprove any of the claims, we’ve included the image anyhow (after the jump).  In response to the allegations, Hill offered the following statement:

“This is a screenshot of the e-mail that Kurt Bardella sent out at 9:33 AM published in your story.  It includes the individuals to whom the e-mail was sent.  None of the individuals to whom it was sent are reporters. While it’s certainly possible some reporters could have received this e-mail – not from Bardella – but as a forward from other individuals, any assertion that a reporter received this e-mail directly from Bardella is false and at odds with the evidence.”

Image after the jump.

*Note (2.30 pm): Because we cannot confirm an actual count, we’ve changed the word “slew” to “several” to reflect the number of reporters who received the email in question.