The Senate Press Gallery’s standing committee on Monday denied permanent congressional press credentials for the far-right website Breitbart, saying it will further examine the organization’s editorial independence.
The group’s board of five journalists who oversee organizations granted congressional press badges said it needed more information on ties between two of Breitbart’s top editorial staff and the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research group.
Further, the group expressed concern over reports that Rebekah Mercer – an influential conservative donor and prominent backer of President Donald Trump – was “highly engaged in Breitbart’s content,” as she apparently identifies story angles for Breitbart to cover.
Committee wants more info on Mercer influence on Breitbart, referencing NYer piece which said Bekah has some editorial influence
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) March 27, 2017
Committee is discussing Breitbart’s application, but some on the masthead are compensated by conservative nonprofit GAI, could be an issue
— Steven Perlberg (@perlberg) March 27, 2017
According to media several reporters in the room, Breitbart was granted continued temporary media passes until it can provide more information about the GAI’s relationship with editor-at-large Pete Schweizer.
The standing committee admits organizations who are “editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government, or that is not principally a general news organization.”
The committee also appeared irked by issues that included the zoning of Breitbart’s office space – and that Breitbart waited until right before the committee’s deadline to declare that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon had severed ties with Breitbart shortly after the election.