Report: Progressive group taped McConnell

According to a Democratic Party official in Kentucky

Published April 11, 2013 5:27PM (EDT)

Earlier this week Mother Jones released audio of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discussing strategy for a possible campaign against Ashley Judd.  McConnell's office responded by asking the FBI to investigate. Now it looks like the mystery might be solved. Jacob Conway, a Democratic Party official, told a Louisville NPR station that Progress Kentucky, a liberal group with a history of tangling with McConnell, made the tape, without permission from the party:

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.

[Progress Kentucky Founders] 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.”

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.

By Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Fbi Media Mitch Mcconnell Mother Jones Recording Taping