Local Democrat says members of Progress Kentucky behind McConnell recording

04/11/2013 02:40 PM

Leaders of the Progress Kentucky super PAC are behind the secret recording of a campaign strategy session between U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and campaign staff, according to a Louisville Democratic operative.

WFPL was first to report Thursday that a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Party said members of the group Progress Kentucky bragged to him about how they recorded the meeting.

Jacob Conway, who is on the executive committee of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, told WFPL that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, who founded and volunteered for Progress Kentucky, were outside the door of the strategy meeting at the headquarters and decided to record it.

In the recording , published by liberal magazine Mother Jones, McConnell and several aides discuss possible challengers to the five-term senator in a strategy meeting on February 2, 2013.

Conway discusses the situation in the WFPL article:

“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.”

The meeting room door is next to the elevators on that floor. McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton has told multiple media outlets the door was shut and locked on Feb. 2. But the door has a vent at the bottom and a large gap underneath.

“Apparently the gentlemen overheard the conversation and decided to record it with a phone or recording device they had in their pocket. Could’ve been an iPhone, could’ve been a Flip camera or something like that,” Conway say.

Progress Kentucky is the same group that was behind a series of controversial Twitter messages directed at the ethnicity of McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

After the story of the members bragging about the recording broke, Conway spoke to Meghan Kelly of Fox News about the story he was told by Morrison and Reilly the afternoon of February 2nd.

McConnell Campaign Manager Jesse Benton told Pure Politics Wednesday that after being at the campaign headquarters for about an hour, the FBI had some “very promising leads” in the investigation.

Benton was also interviewed by Fox News Channel Thursday about the possibility that Progress Kentucky was behind the recording. Benton told Kelly that he has not been asked about Morrison or Reilly by the FBI.

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Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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