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'I'd do it again.' Morrison admits taping McConnell

by Joe Arnold


Posted on May 31, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Updated Friday, May 31 at 6:25 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Curtis Morrison, a former spokesman for the Progress Kentucky SuperPac, confirmed Friday that he secretly recorded a meeting at Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign headquarters, that a federal grand jury will meet next week to consider charges against him related to the February 2 incident and that "if given another chance to record him, I’d do it again."

In a column for Salon.com, Morrison wrote that "an assistant U.S. attorney, Brian Calhoun, telephoned my attorney yesterday, asking to meet with him next Friday as charges against me are being presented to a grand jury, so it looks like I'm going to need to raise some more money for my attorney fees, after all."

Click here for Morrison's Salon.com article.

In April, an attorney for Progress Kentucky Executive Director Shawn Reilly confirmed that Reilly and Morrison were both present when the recording was captured but stipulated that Reilly was at most a witness to Morrison's activities.

In the Salon article, Morrison writes that Reilly accompanied him as Morrison made the recording.

Reilly and Morrison have each confirmed that they have spoken to FBI investigators, but the U.S. Attorney's office has not commented on who is under investigation.

Morrison reveals that he used a "Flip camera" to record the opposition research meeting at the Watterson West office building on Bishop Lane in Louisville and later leaked the recording to Mother Jones magazine.

"The front door to the office building was unlocked, and there was no one behind the reception desk," Morrison wrote.  "Walking down the hall of the second floor, I recognized McConnell’s voice. He was talking about Sen. Rand Paul’s strategic use of the Tea Party in procuring his 2010 election."

"The voices were coming from the other side of a nearby door, which had a window," Morrison continued.  "I pulled out my Flip camera and started to record."

Morrison's detailed description of the clandestine recording is consistent with earlier clarifications that he shared after a WHAS11 News story in which WHAS11 Political Editor Joe Arnold demonstrated how it was believed the recording was made based on statements from Reilly's attorney and former Jefferson County Democratic Party Executive Committee member Jacob Conway, who said both men had bragged to him about making the recording.

In the Salon article, Morrison writes that a "tipster" told him about the invitation-only launch of McConnell's campaign headquarters one week before the event in the office building "only 1,000 feet from where I then lived."

Morrison said he recruited Reilly "at the last minute" to join him on the recording mission because Reilly had a phone with access to Twitter which might provide clues as to the exact location of the McConnell meeting.

The tipster, who Morrison says is a reader of his political blog, called Morrison after the event but advised that a meeting was still underway, Morrison wrote.

"You just never knew when a politician was going to open his mouth and accidentally reveal his true agenda," Morrison writes in Salon.  "And as I held my Flip up to the window, that’s what I was hoping for, but I soon realized that the video I was capturing was the back of a projection screen, and only the audio was of value. So I held the Flip closer to the door vent instead of the window, and began recording the 11:45 minutes of footage later released by Mother Jones."

"I was sweating. My heart was racing," Morrison continued.  "I tried to record backup audio on my phone, but my cheap replacement phone would only let me record voice memos of one minute in length. Every time the minute was up, the phone would beep, which was excruciating for the person crouching by a door vent. When a gentleman walked out of the campaign headquarters and into the hall, I put my Flip and phone back in my pocket, and headed to the elevator."

"Shawn was already there. We made our escape."

While Morrison and Democrats have emphasized the significance of the recording's contents, which included McConnell describing a "Whac-a-Mole" strategy to knock out potential challengers before they can establish a campaign, McConnell's campaign has capitalized on the "dirty" politics involved in capturing the private meeting.

In April, the McConnell campaign released a statewide television commercial that seized on the recording and reminded viewers that Progress Kentucky is the same liberal group responsible for a series of tweets in February that referenced the Asian heritage of McConnell's wife, for which the group later apologized.
The spot titled "How Dirty?" claims McConnell is President Barack Obama's "number one target" and that "liberals will do anything to beat McConnell."