Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign said Tuesday that it is working with the FBI and contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office after audio of a February meeting discussing potential Senate challenger Ashley Judd's weaknesses was leaked to Mother Jones magazine.
"Senator McConnell's campaign is working with the FBI and has notified the local U.S. Attorney in Louisville, per FBI request, about these recordings. Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell's campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished presumably will be the subject of a criminal investigation," said campaign manager Jesse Benton in a statement. "We've always said the Left would stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters are above and beyond."
The Kentucky Republican serves a deeply red state hostile to President Barack Obama, but polls show McConnell as having few solid supporters at home. Although Judd ultimately decided not to run and Democrats have no other announced challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is reportedly considering her options.
McConnell and his aides gamed out Judd's electoral weaknesses in the leaked audio. "She's clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it's been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she's suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the '90s," said an aide, according to Mother Jones.
The aide also discussed Judd's religious views: "She is critical … of traditional Christianity. She sort of views it as sort of a vestige of patriarchy. She says Christianity gives a God like a man, presented and discussed exclusively with male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power, the intention to dominate even if that intention is nowhere visible."
The FBI field office in Louisville had no comment, and the U.S. Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to a message.