This Town grows: The unique and all too usual story of Kurt Bardella

Monday New York Times journalist and This Town author Mark Leibovich tweeted:

For those who have been spared the tawdry details of This Town, Kurt Bardella was California Rep Darrell Issa’s top press aide until it was discovered that he was secretly forwarding his communications with journalists to Leibovich for material for Leibovich’s upcoming book This Town. Outrage from the press and congressional staff over breaches of confidentiality led to Bardella’s firing.

Bardella’s rise in Washington is a unique story of hard work and determination in a town that is notoriously insular. A lengthy 2011 Washingtonian piece “Kurt Bardella: The Comeback” detailed Bardella’s post-high school immersion into politics and followed him as he doggedly worked his way into being one of the most sought after sources in Washington, pulling his boss CA Rep Darrell Issa out of the rank-and-file and into the spotlight along the way. Yet his story is also disappointingly familiar. The article went on to describe Bardella’s steadily inflating self-importance:

Many GOP press operatives cringed as Bardella’s ego inflated. One recalls running into Bardella and Issa before the taping of a cable news program. “Bardella was walking around the greenroom like he was Ari Gold from Entourage—throwing his weight around as if he was a big deal.”

And the vanity that led to his poor decision making:

Leibovich was looking for characters for his book—lawmakers, journalists, staffers, and others who personified contemporary Washington. Although the two had previously discussed the possibility of Issa’s participation, Leibovich had a new idea: “I actually think you’re more interesting,” Bardella recalls Leibovich saying.

Bardella didn’t need much convincing. “I was flattered,” he says. “His fascination with me I found fascinating.”

Now, in a classic Washington move, Bardella leverages his contacts in Washington for his private enterprise, public relations and communications firm Endeavor Strategic Communications. From a recent InTheCapital article:

Bardella’s plethora of experience working on Capitol Hill as well as his well-connected status in Washington is certainly a big reason for his so far easy success. “Anything worth building takes work and effort, but it’s made easier by availing yourself to the human capital around you,” Bardella said.

Returning to Leibovich’s tweet; Bardella just hired two of disgraced Florida Rep. Trey Radel’s staffers, Amanda Nunez and Caitlin Rush. Nunez served as Radel’s communications director and will be the director

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of strategic and political communications at Endeavor. Rush was Radel’s digital director and will perform similar duties at Endeavor. This three person team already counts the Breitbart New Network, the Black American Leadership Alliance, and at least three US representatives (including Issa) among its clients.

Time will tell if the new firm will become yet another revolving door for congressional staff. Bardella certainly isn’t shy about his intention to make it one: