When an Enemy is an Ally: Mitch McConnell Gets a Boost from Alleged Wiretappers

Instead of a news cycle or two of pundits chewing over whether it's fair game for the most powerful Republican in the U.S. to attack a would-be opponent for suffering from depression, the story has become a scandal about a surreptitious bugging operation

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Gary Cameron / Reuters

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a news conference with fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington April 9, 2013.

When Mitch McConnell and his advisers told reporters that the “professional Left” was behind a “Nixonian” ploy to bug his campaign headquarters and leak the tape of an opposition-research session, most observers interpreted the charge as clever spin. McConnell’s team had taken a routine but unsavory story — his campaign weighing how to bury prospective opponent Ashley Judd — and turned it into a masterful display of umbrage-taking.

McConnell pointed the finger Tuesday at a little-known Democratic group called Progress Kentucky.  “Last month, they were attacking my wife’s ethnicity,” he told reporters. “And unbeknownst to me, they were also bugging my headquarters in Nixonian fashion.” This too seemed like a red herring. Any group can be painted as a bogeyman, but Progress Kentucky is particularly small-fry: last year the so-called super PAC raised all of $1,005, and spent just $18. They garnered a lot of attention with one ugly (and since-deleted) tweet.

But the charge may not have been farfetched. On Thursday a Democratic official in Kentucky told Louisville’s NPR affiliate that members of Progress Kentucky boasted about recording the meeting. Jacob Conway, a member of the executive committee of the Jefferson County, Ky., Democratic Party, tells the network:

“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…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…

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 told NBC News that he came forward now to dissociate the group from the Democratic Party. But the upshot of the episode is that instead of a news cycle or two of pundits chewing over whether it’s fair game for the most powerful Republican in the U.S. to attack a would-be opponent for suffering from depression, the story becomes a scandal about a surreptitious bugging operation. This is the second time in two months that Progress Kentucky, a group whose entire existence seems geared toward taking down McConnell, has instead propped him up. With enemies like these, who needs friends?

36 comments
grape_crush
grape_crush

From the WFPL story:

"But if the conversation was audible from a hallway, it's disputable whether recording qualifies as eavesdropping."

> ...the story becomes a scandal about a surreptitious bugging operation.

Which - if that article is correct - is a false story. Overhearing something in the hallway isn't 'bugging a room' and that scumbag Mitch McConnell's overwrought umbrage at being caught being that scumbag Mitch McConnell should be the story here.

When that bartender recorded Romney's "47%" remarks at that fundraiser, no one batted an eye about the fact that it was recorded surreptitiously.


DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

When will the FBI Investigate James O'Keefe's Illegal Wiretaps?

James O’Keefe does this sort of thing for a living with the full and complete blessing of conservatives and Republicans, who celebrate his numerous efforts. James O’Keefe has been illegally and surreptitiously wiretapping people and organizations for years. He illegally wiretapped ACORN and released dishonestly edited tapes that destroyed them. He was sued and last month settled the suit for six figures.

He tried to wiretap Senator Mary Landrieu but was arrested at the scene and prosecuted, resulting in probation for that federal offense. He also wiretapped NPR and two staffers were fired as a result. He tried unsuccessfully to sting the NYU School of Journalism too. He had an associate for the NYU sting and also his attempted Massachusetts SEIU sting during the special election for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat: Nadia Naffe.

It's OK I guess when a slimy Conservative nutjob does it for the sake of Fox News ratings.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

On Progress Kentucky:

“I feel inclined to warn you that he (and they) are a long running joke in Louisville,” a progressive activist and writer messaged me on Feb. 25. “Everyone in KY (liberals included & especially) can’t believe how much attention they’ve gotten in the national media, especially considering no one here takes them seriously (due to a long history of incompetence). An anti-Mitch group needs to emerge, but dear God, it is not Curt & Co. Just an FYI!”

Stupid, but it works.  If you're not getting tracking in your state, make an enormous mess and you can get national attention.  It certainly works for backwater GOP flavor-of-the-weeks.

jmac
jmac

I can hear McConnell's knees knocking from here.  The man is scared senseless.  He attacks and does ads against this young woman who never declared her candidacy and now throws red meat to the media to make a hullabaloo about "Nixionian" bugging of his headquarters ( two guys listening outside a door with a cell phone?).

He's scared.  He might even be more afraid of the right-winger who might go after him than the top-female Dem who's on his tail.  

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

Let me get this straight: 


James O'Keefe takes hidden video recording, selectively edits to misrepresent the videoees, and becomes a conservative hero, taking down ACORN as well as the careers of many dedicated public and community servants.

 Progress Kentucky makes a hidden audio recording of the brain(?)trust of a political smear campaign, and gets shät upon by the Right, Left and MSM. 

Alex: What. Is. Wrong. With. This. Picture??!?

Think_again
Think_again

Romney is kicking himself for not following the same tactic with that liberal bartender guy who unfairly recorded what he was saying. 

McConnell: "Amateur!"

PaulRandall
PaulRandall

Progress KY is so lame that they almost seem like they are Republicans. pretending to be Democrats. pretending to be running a PAC, pretending to be supporting Mcconnell's opponents. 


reallife
reallife

"Progress Kentucky is particularly small-fry"

small enough to throw under the bus

retiredvet
retiredvet

Looks like "Progress Kentucky" is a bunch of doofuses. Time to close up shop.

DerekHologram
DerekHologram

I am trying to think of a lower piece of scum than someone who would use mental illness as a political weapon, but I'm stumped. How could that not be the story, anywhere but in the MSM?

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

These racist liberals sure have it in for Asian women.

DavidSilva
DavidSilva

Thank you Time for this informative article. It is a highly enlightening and informative look at the GOP.

Note to Senator McConnell- You have highlighted many things that are wrong with the DC beltway mentality-

1) Stop worrying about getting re-elected, and start worrying about your constituents.

2) Democrats are not your enemy.

3) Your constituents are not your enemy.

4) There is a chubby kid in North Korea who is your enemy.

5) Senators who have betrayed their oath to the US Constitution are your enemy.

6) Keep your chins up, stop behaving like a schoolboy, be a man and do your job.

TyPollard
TyPollard

Not to mention McConnell's legislative staff involved in campaign efforts which violates ethics rules...oh thats right, I mentioned it.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

In other words, they still have way too much money in their coffers

Think_again
Think_again

@jmac 

If ever a man deserved to fear for losing his office -- and deserved to lose it -- it's McConnell. Has there been anything that he has ever done to serve the good of the american people rather than serving money and power?

Think_again
Think_again

@kbanginmotown 

Yes, you got that straight. And as far as the Republicans are concerned, there is nothing wrong with that picture.

reallife
reallife

how about the one that accused Romney of killing that cancer patient? 

does that help?

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DavidSilva This is incredible. McConnell is the victim of liberal dirty tricks, and some idiot on the left tries to make McConnell out to be the villain.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@TyPollard That's the real story here. McConnell has appeared to violate Senate ethics.  In DC it's not about the truth. It's about perceptions. He's a slime ball of epic proportions in my "perception".

reallife
reallife

@TyPollard what's the matter? dont like the taste of your own medicine?  LOL

DavidSilva
DavidSilva

@KevinGroenhagen @DavidSilva 

Thanks for your response Kevin. I have worked in DC, and this is nowhere near incredible, in fact the opposite is true, this is business as usual, and both sides do it all day long.

Yes, the Democrats were 100% wrong. Yes, if a crime was committed, the perps should be incarcerated. No, I have never cast a  vote for a Democrat in my 50 years on this earth, so your name calling says a lot more about you than anyone else.  But at some point, the Dems and the GOP have to stop their constant childish bickering, put on their big boy pants and go to work.

Spending 95% of their time trying to get re-elected is not work, it is self serving. You and I are Senator McConnells' boss, remember? Every minute they cry and whine about themselves, their campaign, and their fellow Americans from across the aisle, they are stealing money from us, the taxpayers, instead of doing the job we elected them to do.