High Comedy

April 11, 2013 9:28 a.m.

The account of how the Mitch McConnell strategy session allegedly came to be recorded by progressive activists offered by a local Dem is pretty comical: two local progressive activists could hear the strategy session from a hallway outside the room where it was being held, at McConnell campaign headquarters, and simply recorded it.

So far, the two guys who reportedly did the recording aren’t talking so take this all with a grain of salt. The account comes from a low-level Democratic Party county official named Jacob Conway who tells the NPR station that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison bragged to him after the fact about having done it. (Conway also talked to Fox News a short time ago.) Reilly is a founder of Progress Kentucky and Morrison is involved in the group, too, WFPL reports.

Was it illegal?As we reported earlier this week, an eavesdropping case under Kentucky and federal law turns on whether the person doing the recording was a party to the conversation. If s/he was, then it’s not a criminal violation.

Here are the two key parts of the Kentucky statute:

526.010 Definition.

The following definition applies in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires: “Eavesdrop” means to overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of a wire or oral communication of others without the consent of at least one (1) party thereto by means of any electronic, mechanical or other device.

526.020 Eavesdropping.

(1) A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he intentionally uses any device to eavesdrop, whether or not he is present at the time.

(2) Eavesdropping is a Class D felony.

Here’s how the NPR station describes the door to the room where the meeting was held:

The meeting room door is next to the elevators on that floor. McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton has told multiple media outlets the door was shut and locked on Feb. 2. But the door has a vent at the bottom and a large gap underneath.

So perhaps a not very well-sealed door to the room where this private meeting was held. It just adds to the comedy. If this account is true, hard to see how these two guys were a party to the conversation being held behind a locked door.

It’s also probably relevant that this was all taking place within McConnell campaign headquarters. It happened shortly after the campaign held an open house there. But Conway says Reilly and Morrison told him they did not attend the open house. They showed up later. They overheard the meeting, recorded it, and left.

Sounding a lot more like eavesdropping. More details, please.

Image by Shutterstock.com

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