Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused a progressive super PAC of bugging his Kentucky campaign office Tuesday. The prominent Republican official has requested that the FBI investigate the matter.
The Hill reports that McConnell was furious after hearing a leaked recording of a meeting between the senator and his aides. During the meeting, they debated the merits of attacking actress Ashley Judd over her mental health, religion, and family values. Judd was considering running for the Senate against Senator McConnell, but she chose not to last month.
The recordings were allegedly made on February 2 and passed to Mother Jones. McConnell has attributed the leak to Progress Kentucky.
“As I indicated, last month they were attacking my wife’s ethnicity, and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate,” McConnell said to reporters.
McConnell has sparred with Progress Kentucky before. The group sent out a tweet suggesting that McConnell supports sending jobs to China because his wife is Chinese. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, was born in Taiwan and served as the Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush. Democrats joined McConnell in denouncing the tweet as racist.
“As you know last month my wife’s ethnicity was attacked by a left-wing group in Kentucky and then apparently they also bugged my headquarters,” McConnell said. “So I think that pretty much sums up the way the political left is operating in Kentucky.”
McConnell did not address questions about whether it was appropriate to attack a candidate’s mental health or religion.
“Secret recordings, private conversations leaked, reports of bugs — these Watergate-era tactics have no place in our campaigns,” Senator Jerry Moran said in a statement Tuesday. The Republican called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Charles Schumer to denounce the leak, along with numerous other liberal organizations:
“I am glad to read Senator McConnell’s campaign is working with the Department of Justice and the FBI to find answers, but as the investigation continues, I am calling upon the Democratic National Committee, the DSCC, Kentucky Democratic State Party and left-leaning 501(C)(3) and (4) organizations like Mother Jones, Think Progress, American Bridge, Organizing For Action, and any other relevant political organizations to state for the record that they had nothing to do with these illegal acts, denounce them, and make clear they have no place in our political debate.”
Politico reports that there is not yet any public evidence that Progress Kentucky made the recording. The progressive super PAC has not yet issued any statements on whether it actually did bug Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign office.