U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has banked nearly $13 million for his re-election campaign, including more than $1.8 million since January, according to a financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
The FEC filing also shows he still has more than $8.6 million on hand.
"Mitch's popularity and deep, longstanding support make him the most prolific fundraiser in the game," said campaign manager Jesse Benton. "We are building the best statewide campaign America has ever seen, and will work hard to make Kentucky proud."
The latest report shows McConnell with an enormous head start over any potential rivals, although no serious challengers have stepped forward so far.
One of two members of Progress Kentucky who allegedly recorded a campaign meeting between U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and his campaign staff is now saying he was "just a witness" through his attorneys.
Progress Kentucky Executive Director Shawn Reilly denies any wrongdoing. As first reported by WHAS 11, Reilly says he was merely at McConnell's office when the recording happened.
His attorneys are putting the blame solely on Curtis Morrison, a volunteer with the liberal Super PAC. Reilly's attorneys have not returned multiple calls to them since Friday.
Mother Jones magazine published the secret recording earlier this week, and legal experts say it could be considered eavesdropping. But Louisville criminal defense lawyer Brendan McLeod says just being a witness to eavesdropping is murkier legal grounds.
An attorney for Shawn Reilly, one of the members of the liberal group Progress Kentucky who was implicated in the McConnell office recording, says his client did nothing wrong when he and another member of the group went to the Senator's Louisville campaign office in early February.
Attorney Ted Shouse is quoted in the Courier-Journal as saying neither Reilly or Curtis Morrison, another member of Progress Kentucky, broke any laws.
Jefferson County Democratic Party official Jacob Conway told Kentucky Public Radio earlier this week that he overheard Reilly and Morrison bragging about recording a McConnell campaign re-election strategy meeting Feb. 2. According to Conway, the two men said they were in a hallway outside the office when they made the secret recording, which they later turned over to Mother Jones.
Mother Jones has since published audio excerpts from the meeting. McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton says the FBI spent an hour inside the Republican Senator's office Wednesday, investigating the possible source of the audio recording. Benton says the McConnell office wants those responsible prosecuted.
The campaign manager for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell says the FBI spent about an hour in the Senator’s Louisville office Wednesday, investigating a secret recording made of McConnell and staffers.
Audio from a re-election strategy meeting was published by the liberal news magazine Mother Jones.
The Herald-Leader reports campaign manager Jesse Benton says staffers have given pertinent information to the FBI, which has asked the campaign not to discuss details of its investigation. Benton told the paper that he thought the FBI had several leads in the case, and that he hoped whoever was responsible for making the recording would be prosecuted.
Kentucky allows individuals to record conversations to which they are a party without informing the other parties that they are doing so.
McConnell said the recording was an example of “Nixonian” tactics on the left, and that those behind the secret recording used “Watergate style tactics.”
Mother Jones says it received the recording from someone who requested anonymity. Mother Jones published audio excerpts from the McConnell meeting, in which the Kentucky Republican is heard comparing the early stages of the Senate campaign to a game of “whac-a-mole”.
A staffer also discussed strategies the McConnell campaign would use against actress Ashley Judd, who was considering a challenge to McConnell, but who has since said she won’t run. In the recording, the staffer says the campaign would use Judd’s admissions of depression and suicidal thoughts against her, and would also make issue of Judd’s attitudes towards what the staffer called “traditional Christianity.”
Two national Democratic groups are ramping up their fight against Senator Mitch McConnell's re-election efforts.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is targeting McConnell for his votes against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Violence against Women Act.
And the Senate Majority PAC, run by Majority Leader Harry Reid, has launched a website about McConnell, who they call Beltway Mitch. It criticizes McConnell for his refusal to compromise on sequestration. The website notes sequestration is costing many public school districts in Kentucky.
The McConnell campaign did not respond to a request for comment.