Odd Bedfellows: Politico Publishes Opinion Piece by Fired Issa Aide

In a bizarre twist, Kurt Bardella, the aide fired by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issaa (R-Calif.), has an opinion piece in Politico. Here comes the strangeness: It’s a story about damage control. But that’s not all. A little more than two weeks ago, Politico‘s Mike Allen published a scathing account of Bardella’s “self-importance” and “cocky streak.” Politico was the publication that first reported that Bardella leaked emails to NYT reporter Mark Leibovich, who is working on a book about the incestuous culture of Washington.

Those leaked emails are presumed to be those of Politico reporters, but so far, there is no proof.

Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris worried that Politico‘s own reporters had their emails “compromised” by Bardella and sent Issa a letter requesting that he look into the matter. Issa launched an inquiry and fired the aide.

Now Bardella turns up in Politico with his take on damage control and Japan’s nuclear crisis post the tsunami. The former aide writes in Politico: “In crisis situations, there can be the tendency to gravitate more toward damage control at the expense of full disclosure. There is always a difficult balance to strike between keeping the public as informed as they need to be while trying to avoid mass panic – which in itself can create even more challenges at times than the physical crisis itself. That challenge is exponentially multiplied when you’re trying to assess a situation beyond our shores.”

Too cozy for comfort?

On the day Issa fired his aide, Allen wrote about Bardella’s “self-promotion” swiftly and with ease: “Even in Capitol Hill’s sea of self-promotion, Bardella stuck out. His self-bestowed nickname is “Mini-Me,” a reference to himself as an up-and-coming version of his wealthy boss.”

But on a positive note, he wrote, the aide did his job well:  “Ironically, given his current straits, Bardella was successful in his goal of raising Issa’s profile and worked the press tirelessly, at all hours, seven days a week, ingratiating himself and promoting Issa and his agenda,” Allen wrote toward the bottom of his story.

We’ve put in a written request to Harris for comment. Due to the late hour, we don’t expect him to immediately return our email. But we will bring you Harris’ comment should he have one.