The Senate Press Gallery's Standing Committee of Correspondents chose to deny permanent Hill credentials to Breitbart News on Tuesday morning.
Breitbart has been using temporary press credentials for over two years as it has attempted to meet the press gallery's requirements. The committee has repeatedly extended its temporary passes after deciding Breitbart has not met those requirements, and more recently for not providing adequate evidence of severing its ties with former executive chairman and current White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
A committee member said Breitbart CEO Larry Solov believes that Breitbart qualifies for credentials, telling her he would be willing to answer “lingering questions” about individual reporters if necessary.
But Solov's plan to get individual reporters credentialed rather than Breitbart News itself wouldn't work, according to the member.
“The publication itself would need to be approved prior to any reporters being approved,” she explained to her colleagues.
Breitbart has not addressed the committee's concerns, primarily those about where its office space is located or the specific roles of the people on its masthead.
Additionally, the committee's chairman, Billy House of Bloomberg News, said Breitbart had continuing inconsistencies in the timeline of Bannon's departure. Most concerning, House said, was Solov's “lack of understanding” of the press gallery's procedures at this point.
“The whole thing suggests to me that they are just not ready for a credential,” one committee member observed. “The more information we get from Mr. Solov, the more questions we have,” another added.
The committee chose to table Breitbart's application and not extend its current temporary passes, which expire on May 31.
“This isn't content-driven, and we are not singling out Breitbart,” House emphasized. “Our job is to do the best that we can in seeing how the information they've provided meets our requirements.”
“If the organization chooses to address those concerns and come back,” a committee member said, “they certainly could.”