Relying on Mistaken Transcription, Liberal Magazine Accuses McConnell of Breaking the Law
8:22 AM, Apr 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mother Jones, the liberal magazine that somehow obtained audio of a private Mitch McConnell campaign meeting, now wonders whether the top Republican in the Senate is breaking the law. The direct accusation is that Senate staffers did work to help McConnell's reelection, which if done on official time, could be a violation of the law.
"Did Mitch McConnell Use Senate Employees for Oppo Research on Ashley Judd?," a headline on the magazine's website reads.
The story begins:
The key quotation from the "secret tape" is an unnamed campaign official saying this, according to Mother Jones's transcription:
"So I'll just preface my comments that this reflects the work of a lot of folks: Josh, Jesse, Phil Maxson, a lot of LAs, thank them three times, so this is a compilation of work, all the way through. The first person we'll focus on, Ashley Judd—basically I refer to her as sort of the oppo research situation where there's a haystack of needles, just because truly, there's such a wealth of material."
The magazine explains the legal issue, "The question is whether Maxson and the other McConnell LAs were digging up material on Judd while on government time. If they were engaged in this research while on annual leave or vacation—or working outside Senate hours—they wouldn't be violating Senate rules."
(LAs stands for legislative assistants, a position in Senate offices.)
But listen to the audio a few more times:
The campaign hand isn't saying, "thank them three times"--a phrase not really used in the English language. But instead it actually sounds like he's explicitly saying that the LAs did not break the law. It sounds, to me at least, that the unnamed presenter is saying the LAs worked toward the reelection campaign "in their free time," which as Mother Jones notes, would be perfectly legal.
Recent Blog Posts