Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “secret Ashley Judd tape” controversy gets stranger and shadier by the minute. It is now being reported that Progress Kentucky, the group tied to the tape, may have stooped to their Watergate-style tactics due to lack of influence and a shortage of cash.
Progress Kentucky is described as a liberal super PAC, the stated goal of which is to oust McConnell from office in 2014. Despite this, the group is run by “just a couple of activists,” according to a former state Democratic Party official with little by way of influence and cash.
Since its creation in December, the group has only amassed roughly $1,000 in donations, of which $18 has been spent, according to a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission. McConnell, by contrast, has raised roughly $10 million toward his re-election.
“This has nothing to do with the party or even a group,” said Chris Tobe, a former state Democratic Party board member. “(They’re) just creating a national media buzz by bending or breaking the rules.”
The group is now the subject of an FBI investigation into a secretly recorded tape of McConnell aides from February. At the time, actress Ashley Judd was reportedly considering a Senate bid against McConnell, and his aides gathered to discuss a campaign strategy against her, which included talks regarding her mental health, as well as her political and religious beliefs.
In this, Progress Kentucky received attention from the liberal blog Mother Jones, which published the tapes. Though McConnell’s aides laugh at and disparage Judd’s personal life, no full recording was posted: What we hear are short clips, only seconds each. This strange, Breitbart-ian style brand of journalism seemed a far cry from the now-infamous “47 percent” exposé that put Mother Jones on the map during the 2012 elections.
Having listened to the recordings, I opined at the time that McConnell’s aides were really only guilty of “being mean,” and that any scandal from the tapes was forced and disingenuous. Smear campaigns are conducted on every side during every election, after all. Another Inquisitr writer, Bertel King, added that the secret tapes merely amounted to “the best thing that could happen to secure the senator’s re-election.”
Now, Progress Kentucky is all but in ruin. The group previously made a controversial bid against McConnell in February, with a tweet that referenced the Asian heritage of the Senator’s wife. The tweet was widely condemned by both Republicans and Democrats.
The latest controversy caused the group’s treasurer, Douglas L. Davis, to resign on Tuesday.
Though Progress Kentucky has seemingly fallen on its sword over the McConnell tapes, the two who have seemingly gotten away with murder in the “scandal” are Senator Mitch McConnell himself, whose re-election prospects look better than ever, and Mother Jones’ David Corn, who has seemingly ignored anything resembling journalistic standards to promote the story over it’s “substance.”
“We are still waiting for Sen. Mitch McConnell to comment on the substance of the story,” said a statement from the publication.
Corn himself has said that the tape was vetted by the publication’s lawyers and determined to be real. He also stressed that Mother Jones had nothing to do with the tape’s recording.
“Like many journalists, when someone gives you a story, you don’t always ask why,” Corn said. “I think it’s a fair assumption the ’47 percent’ story might have been a factor,” he concluded.
What do you think? Did the secret McConnell tapes make a difference to his re-election prospects? Did Progress Kentucky receive its just desserts, or was the recording fair game? Should Mother Jones walk back on the story, and is their credibility in question? Sound off!