Report: Liberal group Progress Kentucky behind McConnell taping Update: Corn “Can’t say much now.”
posted at 2:41 pm on April 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
Which is, well, kinda what Sen. Mitch McConnell said yesterday. These are the same guys who sent out racist tweets about McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, and her Chinese heritage.
Local news in Kentucky is reporting, via a Democratic official, that Progress Kentucky is behind the secret tapes published by Mother Jones this week, which revealed McConnell operatives in the act of…running a campaign. The story immediately went viral in political circles, not so much for the videos’ content as for McConnell’s pushback. The Republican senator quickly went on offense, decrying the left’s “Nixonian-style” tactics, and turning the non-story of the videos into a headache for local Democrats. Which is why they’re now turning on each other to avoid blame:
A secret recording of a campaign strategy session between U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and his advisors was taped by leaders of the Progress Kentucky super PAC, says a longtime local Democratic operative.
Mother Jones Magazine released the tape this week. The meeting itself took place on Feb. 2.
Jacob Conway, who is on the executive committee of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, says that day, Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, who founded and volunteered for Progress Kentucky, respectively, bragged to him about how they recorded the meeting.
Conway says neither the local nor the state Democratic party had any part in the incident.
Conway says he outed them to protect the party. This story comes to you from the Louisville NPR affiliate. The two Progress KY founders declined to comment, but here is Conway’s version of their telling of how the tape came to be.
On Feb. 2, McConnell opened his campaign headquarters in the Watterson Office Park in Louisville and invited trusted GOP activists and select media outlets to an open house. The event lasted roughly two hours. Afterward, McConnell and several campaign advisors held a strategy session in an office meeting room.
Morrison and Reilly did not attend the open house, but they told Conway they arrived later and were able to hear the meeting from the hallway.
“They were in the hallway after the, I guess after the celebration and hoopla ended, apparently these people broke for lunch and had a strategy meeting, which is, in every campaign I’ve been affiliated with, makes perfect sense,” says Conway. “One of them held the elevator, the other one did the recording and they left. That was what they told to me from them directly.”
Political reporters, refreshingly, are in agreement in criticizing a liberal advocacy group:
For their next phase, ProgressKY will burn down My Old Kentucky Home, mix bourbon with diet coke and proclaim Duke the best bball team.
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) April 11, 2013
I’ll say it again: ProgressKY is a FAR more effective GOP super Pac than Restore Our Future
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) April 11, 2013
As Allahpundit noted, it didn’t make sense to waste an actual bug on leaking this non-story, so the iPhone in the hallway scenario makes a little more sense. As for the timing of release two months after it was recorded, could it be that even Progress KY found this pretty ho-hum, but David Corn couldn’t contain himself after catching wind of it? Either way, not a confidence-building move for Progress KY or the left’s opposition to McConnell, especially since it centered on a person who’s not even in the race.
WFPL on the legality of the recording:
It’s unclear why Reilly and Morrison held onto the tape for so long. Kentucky law says 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.”
But if the conversation was audible from a hallway, it’s disputable whether recording qualifies as eavesdropping.
Sean Spicer of the RNC chimes in:
Legal Fun fact: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 526.060Divulging info obtained thru illegal eavesdropping is a crime, punishable a misdemeanor
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) April 11, 2013
In other legal news, liberal group CREW thinks McConnell is the one with the ethics problem.
A couple tweets from Democratic officials yesterday, just for fun.
Not so bizarre after all, DSCC employee Matt Canter:
I just watched the video of McConnell responding to the tapes. politico.com/story/2013/04/… Bizarre.
— Matt Canter (@mattcanter) April 9, 2013
LOL, Brad Woodhouse of the DNC:
McConnell is a spin master. Was going to go after a woman’s decades old mental health issues and now he’s just trying to distract from that.
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) April 9, 2013
LOL!! RT @zekejmiller: NRSC calls on Reid, Schumer, DNC, DSCC, American Bridge, Think Progress, and OFA to denounce the McConnell audio leak
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) April 9, 2013
Update: David Corn, the reporter of the original Mother Jones story, has no comment.