Breitbart News’Â application for press credentials to cover Congress has been set aside, and the news outlet’s temporary credentials will not be renewed when they expire at the end of May.
The Standing Committee of Correspondents, whichÂ controls membership in the Senate Press Gallery, tabled the news outlet’s application Tuesday, saying there are simply too many outstanding concerns about the organizations editorial independence.
Breitbart had applied to become a credentialed member of the Senate Daily Press Gallery, joiningÂ TheÂ New York Times, USA TODAY and other mainstream news outlets. This would giveÂ them access to the Capitol that is on par with congressional staff. It would also allow them to participate inÂ White House “pools,” providingÂ coverage ofÂ events to the rest of the press corps when space for reporters is limited.
But the organization that was previously run by Steve Bannon â now chief strategist in President Trump’s White House â has struggled to prove to the standing committee that it is no longer tied to Bannon or the political organizations he used to run.
Breitbart operated out of Bannon’s residence for years, despite the fact that the building was not zoned for commercial activity; CEO Larry Solov has told the committee he still has not found a suitable Washington office, one of the requirements for gallery membership.
Solov also provided the committee a list of top editors in March that included several people who were also employed by the Government Accountability Institute, a non-profit Bannon used to run that, like Breitbart News, is funded by the Mercer family. Rebekah Mercer,Â a GOP donor who played a major role in Trumpâs campaign and transition,Â is credited with bringing Bannon on to the Trump campaign team last year.
The staff list includedÂ Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer andÂ Managing Editor Wynton Hall, who had six-figureÂ salaries at the Government Accountability Institute as recently as 2014, according to tax records.Â But in an April 18 letter to the standing committee, Solov said the list was inaccurate: Hall resigned in February and has not been replaced.
Standing Committee chairman Billy House ofÂ Bloomberg News said the ongoing questions about Breitbart’s independence made it impossible for the committee to approve the group’s application. The committee was also unmoved by an appeal by Solov to approve individual reporters instead of the whole organization.
“They are just not ready for a credential,” said committee secretary Joe Morton of the Omaha World Herald,Â though he and House agreed that Breitbart could ultimately qualify for press credentials if the organization gets better established. For example, Morton said, “they need to hire a…