Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is fuming mad and has called in the FBI after secret recordings of his re-election campaign team plotting to expose Ashley Judd‘s mental health status were made public by the left leaning website Mother Jones. The February recordings included McConnell’s Kentucky based political team, all of whom have been with McConnell for years and have gained his trust. In the recordings McConnell is heard opening the closed door meeting with a reference to the game ‘whack-a-mole‘ insisting that it was prudent to get a head start on “opposition research“:

“I assume most of you have played the, the game Whac-A-Mole? This is the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign when anybody sticks their head up, do them out.”

Judd had contemplated making a run for McConnell’s Senate seat in 2014 – a seat that he’s held now for 5 terms – but Judd announced in March she would not be running “at this time.”

It’s unclear how the Mother Jones site obtained the recordings but McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement on Tuesday that it was obvious that an illegal eavesdropping device had been employed:

“Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished will presumably be the subject of a criminal investigation. We’ve always said the Left will stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters is above and beyond.”

The recordings reveal possible methods of political attack team McConnell was contemplating had Judd in fact decided to run against him, with the tender spot in their talks being that of Judd’s mental health status. One of McConnell’s staff members was recorded saying:

“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.”


Former(and possible future) Senate Hopeful Ashley Judd

According to CNN, when informed of the recordings and the content which they contain, Judd said it was “another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington DC.”

Judd’s spokesperson issued a statement scalding McConnell for the plot:

“We expected nothing less from Mitch McConnell and his camp than to take a personal struggle such as depression, which many Americans cope with on a daily basis, and turn it into a laughing matter.”

But the secret, watergate-esque recordings weren’t all about Judd’s mental health – McConnell’s team could also be heard busily tying Judd to U.S. President Barack Obama and her support for certain Obama administration policies regarding same-sex marriage and cap-and-trade. They could also be heard preparing political rhetoric over Judd’s anti-coal stance, a position which would likely cost anyone challenging McConnell votes due to Kentucky’s dependence on coal power.

Benton insisted the information wasn’t leaked by anyone present and the facility in which the meeting took place was secured:

“It wasn’t a leak,” said Benton who claimed the meeting took place “in a very private, closed, locked conference room. These are people who have been with McConnell for years. This was like a family meeting.”