Progress Kentucky Fingered for Secret McConnell Tape

Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:51pm

Updated 2:05 p.m.| A Louisville news radio station reported Thursday that Progress Kentucky, a group seeking to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was behind the secret recording of a McConnell campaign strategy session.

WFPL reported that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, a founder and volunteer for the group, respectively, “bragged” about recording the meeting to Jacob Conway, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Party executive committee.

(See also in Roll Call: Secret Recording Spurs Ethics Complaint Against McConnell)

Conway told WFPL that they stood in the hallway of the Lousiville office building where McConnell’s campaign headquarters is located and recorded the meeting through a vent in the door.

“Apparently the gentlemen overheard the conversation and decided to record it with a phone or recording device they had in their pocket,” Conway said.

A message sent to a Progress Kentucky email address was not immediately returned.

When news of the secret recording broke earlier this week, McConnell immediately said he believed Progress Kentucky was behind what he called a Watergate-style bugging.

McConnell made the connection between the recording and disparaging comments made about his wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, by the liberal group. That was also the basis for McConnell’s first six-figure television ad buy, which featured Chao speaking to the camera.

(See also in Roll Call: McConnell Campaign Slams Liberal Groups’ Tweet About His Wife)

McConnell has also asked the FBI to investigate.

Updated 2:05 p.m. 

McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, responded with a statement to WFPL’s report:

“WFPL’s reports that left-wing activists illegally recorded a private meeting inside our campaign headquarters are very disturbing. At this point, we understand that the FBI is immersed in an intensive criminal investigation and must defer any further comment to them,” Benton said.