Curtis Morrison Admits He Recorded McConnell, Provides Details
The front door to the office building was unlocked, and there was no one behind the reception desk. 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. I pulled out my Flip phone and started to record.
I don’t need to tell you what a weapon the pocket video camera has become. Bartender Scott Prouty changed the trajectory of the entire 2012 election when he captured Mitt Romney in his now classic “47 percent” speech. You just never knew when a politician was going to open his mouth and accidentally reveal his true agenda. 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.
What I never expected was the pushback from my own political side. One day in April, I turned on MSNBC and saw U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville and one of my personal heroes, rip me a new one.
About Reilly…Morrison's piece describes him as a friend and as a neighbor, and as a not-quite accomplice who was present at the time of the recording. It doesn't mention that Morrison volunteered for Progress Kentucky, a super PAC Reilly founded. It also leaves out any details of Morrison's talks with the FBI (though the author bio does mention he's under investigation). Morrison mentions that he could be prosecuted (he's raising money for his legal defense fund—he's about $7,000 short of his goal), but he doesn't give his defense for why he hasn't committed a crime. He just says this:
As for whether my actions were illegal? I don’t believe so, and that position has been supported by some high-profile attorneys, including John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon. Not everyone agrees with Dean, of course. Erik Wemple, whose wife works for Mother Jones, cleared David Corn of wrongdoing in the Washington Post, but me not so much. Wemple wrote: “Yes, reporters, you may accept clandestine recordings from law-breaking scumbags. Just don’t help them do their work.”
Morrison wrote the piece from California, where he says he now lives and is planning to study law. But I don't think this is the last we'll hear from Morrison in Kentucky. He writes that the charges against him are going before a grand jury. So we may hear his legal justification for his actions yet.