McConnell campaign on Ashley Judd: Was secret recording legal?
Kentucky state law suggests the secret recording of a McConnell campaign strategy session – posted Tuesday on the Mother Jones website – could be illegal. The FBI is also getting involved.
Republicans are crying foul – and raising the memory of Watergate – over the release of an embarrassing secret recording of a strategy session for the reelection campaign of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky. Senator McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, was present at the meeting.Skip to next paragraph
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Audio from the Feb. 2 meeting, posted Tuesday on the liberal Mother Jones website, included discussion of (and laughter over) past comments and travails of actress Ashley Judd, who had considered running against McConnell but decided not to.
The McConnell campaign denies that anyone on its staff leaked the recording.
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“Secret recordings, private conversations leaked, reports of bugs – these Watergate-era tactics have no place in our campaigns,” Sen. Jerry Moran (R) of Kansas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement.
The McConnell campaign is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has notified the US Attorney’s office in Louisville about the matter, McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, told NBC News.
The incident brings to mind the secret video recording last year of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney talking about the “47 percent” – people who will vote for President Obama “no matter what” and are “dependent upon government” – also posted on the Mother Jones site. That video may have been the most damaging moment in Romney’s campaign.
But in legal terms, the McConnell recording is different. Mr. Romney was speaking at a fundraiser in Florida, and while it was a private event, he could reasonably expect that he might be recorded.