Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blamed the liberal Super PAC Progress Kentucky of bugging his campaign offices.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released a recording of a private meeting between McConnell and his campaign aides discussing attacks on potential challengers, including actress Ashley Judd’s struggles with depression.
The McConnell campaign has said it contacted the FBI and U.S. Attorney to look into charges of eavesdropping. But McConnell went further during a press conference and alluded to Progress, which attacked the ethnicity of the GOP leader’s wife in a series of Tweets earlier this year.
“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. So I think that pretty well sums up the way the political left is operating in Kentucky,” McConnell said.
A McConnell spokesperson later clarified to a reporter the senator wasn’t accusing Progress specifically but was talking about the “political left” in general.
However, in the course of the interview McConnell twice more juxtaposed the bugging of his campaign offices with Progress Kentucky being involved in some capacity.
“As I indicated, last month they were attacking my wife’s ethnicity and then apparently unbeknownst to us at the time they were bugging our headquarters in a Nixonian move,” McConnell said again. “This is what you get from the political left in America these days.”
Less than a few hours after the Mother Jones story broke, the McConnell campaign was sending out a fundraiser e-mails alleging “liberals wiretap” the headquarters.
Asked if the campaign was positive any liberal group was involved in the leaked audio recording, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told WFPL they would let the FBI determine that before adding: “It’s clearly a left-wing group.”
The executive director of Progress Kentucky has not returned out request for comment.