On Tuesday, Mother Jones released a secret audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s closed-doors campaign meeting about Ashley Judd, who was considering running for Senate against McConnell in Kentucky. While many on the left have taken this as an opportunity to demonize McConnell, others argue the outrage is "much ado about not much." Regardless of how each interprets the recordings, there is a significantly more important problem — bugging an office is illegal.
Senator McConnell’s campaign is currently working with the FBI to determine who created the recording and by what means the recording was created. Slate quotes McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, speaking out about the issue. "Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Sen. McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished presumably will be the subject of a criminal investigation."
Senator McConnell has been facing a wide spectrum of inappropriate attacks in the past few months, but this particular round crosses the line into unlawful. USA Today quotes McConnell as saying "[l]ast month, they were attacking my wife's ethnicity. And unbeknownst to me, they were bugging my headquarters in Nixonian fashion. That is what the political left does these days."
In a statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), says "Secret recordings, private conversations leaked, reports of bugs — these Watergate-era tactics have no place in our campaigns." Senator Moran also calls "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." He goes on to say "this 'anything to win: laws and rules be damned' mentality has to stop. I hope that Leaders Reid and Schumer will join me in condemning these tactics."
Such unlawful and amoral action should not be condoned. When the perpetrators are exposed, we will find out if someone committed this crime alone, or if one or several left-leaning organizations conspired against McConnell. The outcome will hold enormous implications about the integrity of the perpetrators and their associates.