Activist Who Secretly Recorded Mitch McConnell Still in Limbo
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — It has been nearly two weeks since a liberal activist and freelance journalist named Curtis Morrison publicly admitted to secretly recording Sen. Mitch McConnell earlier this year. But federal authorities have yet to say whether he is being prosecuted.
“Earlier this year, I secretly made an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the most powerful Republican on the planet, at his campaign headquarters in Kentucky,” Morrison wrote in a May 31 Salon.com article. “The released portion of the recording clocks in at less than 12 minutes, but those few minutes changed my life.”
Morrison said he leaked the recording to Mother Jones, which published it in April.
McConnell called the recording of a Feb. 2 strategy session at his campaign office in Kentucky a ”Watergate-style bugging,” and FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told ABC News in early April that the bureau was looking into the matter.
The FBI declined to comment Wednesday, as did the McConnell campaign.
The recording features McConnell and his aides devising tactics for discrediting actress Ashley Judd, who, at the time, was considering entering the U.S. Senate race against McConnell. She ultimately decided not to run.
“I assume most of you have played the game Whac-A-Mole?” McConnell is heard saying on the tape. “This is the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign, when anybody sticks their head up, do them out.”
Federal law prohibits individuals from conducting electronic recordings of others unless the recorder is either part of the conversation or they obtain the consent of at least one person being recorded. A similar law is on the books in Kentucky.
But in an interview with a local Kentucky television station earlier this month, Morrison said he could make a case for his innocence.
“I did not feel like I was breaking the law when I did what I did,” he told ABC News affiliate WHAS11 News in Louisville. “From my understanding of both Kentucky statutes and federal law, I think the case can be made that I did not break the law.”
In his Salon article, Morrison, a former operative for liberal group Progress Kentucky, said an assistant U.S. attorney called his lawyer in late May to arrange a meeting and to say that the case had been referred to a grand jury. Morrison, 44, also disclosed that he had left Kentucky for California, planning to attend law school starting this fall.
Morrison also suggested that he was willing to face the consequences of his actions: “If I get whacked in the process, so be it,” he wrote.
And he even went a step further: “If given another chance to record him, I’d do it again.”
The Department of Justice has not responded to a request for comment on where the Morrison investigation stands.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
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