Something Fishy on Capitol Hill

Roll Call’s John Bresnahan has dug up the latest government/press tiff: “The Capitol Police are investigating how a Bloomberg News reporter acquired a confidential internal document from the House Education and the Workforce Committee, with the two sides in the dispute telling very different versions of what actually happened.”

Evidently Democratic ranking member Rep. George Miller is angry that Bloomberg’s Jay Newtown-Small ended up with a document containing confidential pension information for hundreds of U.S. companies. How the reporter landed the catch, which Bloomberg has not reported on and has since returned to the committee at its request, is a matter of debate.

Executive Editor Al Hunt says that the reporter was “specifically given access” by Democratic committee staff and did nothing wrong. Indeed a close reading of the story finds that most of the holes seem to be on Miller’s side. For instance, how a reporter got access to the committee files and managed to walk out with a lengthy document. Did Newtown-Small pull a Sandy Berger and slip it a sock?

Sounds like what probably really happened is that a committee staffer gave Newtown-Small the document and then in the midst of Bloomberg’s reporting on it, the GOP found out and freaked out–and is now seizing an opportunity to push Miller over a barrel.

When all else fails, blame the press, right?