Breitbart News has been denied a request for permanent press passes to cover Congress and its current temporary passes, which expire May 31, will not be extended, BuzzFeed News reports. Breitbart has spent the last month petitioning the standing committee of the U.S. Senate Daily Press Gallery for the passes, which serve as a symbol of legitimacy for reporters covering the Hill.
In late March, the committee denied Breitbart's initial request for permanent passes, citing a need for "more answers" regarding Stephen Bannon's role with the company. Bannon served as the organization's former executive chair, and now works as the White House chief strategist. The committee expressed concerns about Bannon's potentially ongoing involvement in Breitbart, which sparked CEO Larry Solov to send the committee a written masthead purporting to show that Bannon severed ties with the media organization in November. But beyond "us trusting Larry," a committee member noted that there was no actual evidence proving Bannon had divorced himself from Breitbart.
The committee's concerns remained upon review in April. The members noted that Bannon's date of departure, disclosed on White House financial forms, was different than the date suggested by Solov. Additionally, the committee was concerned with the masthead's ties to outside groups, such as the conservative nonprofit Government Accountability Institute. What's more, Breitbart does not have an office that is zoned for commercial use. Solov told the committee he is looking for a new office, but the issue has not been resolved and he offered no update.
"The whole thing suggests to me they are not ready for a credential," a committee member said.