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McConnell campaign on Ashley Judd: Was secret recording legal?

Kentucky state law suggests the secret recording of a McConnell campaign strategy session – posted Tuesday on the Mother Jones website – could be illegal. The FBI is also getting involved. 

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of K.Y. answers questions from reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, following a Republican strategy session. The FBI is investigating allegations that McConnell's re-election campaign office was bugged with an electronic listening device.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Republicans are crying foul – and raising the memory of Watergate – over the release of an embarrassing secret recording of a strategy session for the reelection campaign of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky. Senator McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, was present at the meeting.

Audio from the Feb. 2 meeting, posted Tuesday on the liberal Mother Jones website, included discussion of (and laughter over) past comments and travails of actress Ashley Judd, who had considered running against McConnell but decided not to. 

The McConnell campaign denies that anyone on its staff leaked the recording.

“Secret recordings, private conversations leaked, reports of bugs – these Watergate-era tactics have no place in our campaigns,” Sen. Jerry Moran (R) of Kansas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement.

The McConnell campaign is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has notified the US Attorney’s office in Louisville about the matter, McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, told NBC News.

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