The Louisville Tea Party is blasting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for defending the National Security Agency’s surveillance program while decrying a secret recording of his own campaign office.
Earlier this week, McConnell said the NSA obtaining the call logs for millions of Americans is legal, adding it has the proper congressional and judicial oversight.
McConnell acknowledged privacy concerns, but said the national intelligence director declassified enough information to downplay the public’s concerns.
In a Twitter message sent out Wednesday afternoon, however, the tea party group representing Kentucky’s largest city called McConnell a “hypocrite” for supporting the program.
“Hey @Team_Mitch, why do you get so upset when someone spies on you, but you want to spy on all of us?”
The online message makes reference to McConnell and his re-election staff crying foul over a liberal activist who recorded campaign strategy session.
In a recent Salon.com piece, political activist Curtis Morrison revealed he was behind the secret audio tape where McConnell’s campaign staff can be overheard discussion ways to attack actress Ashley Judd’s struggles with depression and other mental health issues.
Asked about the recording, McConnell compared Morrison’s action to “Nixonian tactics” while campaign manager Jesse Benton called it “bugging” and a “Gestapo-style” attack.
“One would think that after Senator McConnell’s reaction to someone recording a conversation that could be heard from the hallway outside his office, the Senator would understand that we don’t like having our privacy invaded anymore than he does,” Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand told WFPL.
“Senator McConnell claims that the NSA surveillance program is ‘lawful.’ He is wrong. ‘Laws’ like the Patriot Act that Senator McConnell helped champion through Congress, and that have empowered the NSA to collect phone data and private emails of Americans, are in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. We remind Senator McConnell that the Constitution is the supreme law.”
Durand did applaud Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has said he will file a federal lawsuit challenging the NSA program, and she implored McConnell to do the same.
The public jabs are a pivot for the Louisville Tea Party, which had been reticent when it came to criticizing McConnell compared to other tea party groups in the state.
As LEO Weekly reported earlier this week, a prominent tea party activist says he has found a GOP primary challenger for McConnell. The Louisville chapter’s criticisms could be a sign the tea party frustration is beginning to peak ahead of a potential opponent’s announcement.
Besides defending the program, McConnell also called for the full prosecution of Edward Snowden, who admitted to leaking information about the NSA program to a British newspaper.
The McConnell campaign has not responded to our request for comment.