A political action committee with the sole stated purpose of removing Sen. Mitch McConnell from office has been identified as being responsible for the secret recording of his staff discussing campaign strategy.
A local Democratic official told WFPL-FM in Louisville, Ky
., that members of the super PAC Progress Kentucky bragged to him about making the Feb. 2 recording the same day they listened in on McConnell staffers talking about actress Ashley Judd’s potential run for McConnell’s seat.
Jefferson County Democratic Party Executive Committee member Jacob Conway said neither the local nor state Democratic Party had anything to do with the recording. He told Fox’s Megyn Kelly that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison overhead the conversation in a hallway and recorded it.
“I don’t know why they were at the grand opening of his campaign office,” Conway said. “But they were there after the event had ended, and were in the hallway and they overheard the conversation going on.”
Conway called the conversation of McConnell staffers “tasteless,” but stressed that Progress Kentucky members were wrong to record the private discussion. He said he went public because he didn’t want the Democratic Party to be blamed in what McConnell has described as a Watergate-style bugging.
The recording was turned over to the liberal publication Mother Jones, which printed transcripts of the strategy session in which staffers discussed ways to use Judd’s public statements and her mental health history against her if she decided to run.
Jesse Benton, McConnell campaign manager, has said the door was shut and locked during the meeting, but that there is a vent in the door and a large gap underneath it.
“Apparently the gentlemen overheard the conversation and decided to record it with a phone or recording device they had in their pocket,” Conway told WFPL.
The radio station notes that in Kentucky, it is a felony “to overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of a wire or oral communication of others without the consent of at least one party thereto by means of any electric, mechanical or other device.”
On the Progress Kentucky website “About” page, the organization says, “We’re committed to electing a new US Senator to represent Kentucky. It’s time to level the playing field. It’s time to make things right. It’s time to hold Mitch McConnell accountable.”
The entire “About” page is devoted to finding ways to defeat McConnell, and the group appears to have no other stated purpose.
Progress Kentucky is the same group that came under fire for making what were described as racist Twitter comments about McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, former labor secretary to President George W. Bush, who was born in Taiwan.
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