Is your jaw sitting a bit too high on your face? Or have you had trouble getting it open wide enough to eat? Well, then. Feast your eyes on this piece from the guy who recorded Mitch McConnell … gasp! … talking strategy about a possible Senate opponent. We discussed this before and it wasn’t clear whether the eavesdropper committed a crime.
The answer now appears to be Holy Fucking Shit Yes:
The front door to the office building [of McConnell’s campaign HQ] 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 camera 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.
I was sweating. My heart was racing. 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.
That, my friends, is the description of a felony, not journalism. Journalism would be meeting with a politician and recording the interview. Journalism might even mean having a hidden microphone on a staffer. Journalism does not include breaking into the campaign quarters, hunting down the candidate and recording a private conversation to which you are not a party.
The whole op-ed is just bizarre. There is a smug “everything I did, I did for Kentucky” tone to it; as if Mitch McConnell’s views justified any tactic. He cites people who’ve claimed he didn’t do anything illegal ignoring that their support was predicated upon a very different version of events (the initial reports were that he happened to be walking by and heard the conversation clearly). He says he intends to go to law school but I’m not sure how once this is over.
I almost feel sorry for the guy. What the hell kind of a lawyer does he have who would let him write this? If I were the prosecutor, I’d present it to the jury and rest my case. He thinks his life was turned upside down before? Wait until he’s a convicted felon. I wish I could feel schadenfreude here but this is just sad.
(Ken at Popehat always says that the must frustrating thing about clients accused of crimes is when they won’t shut the hell up. Let this be an example to everyone. If you are accused of a crime, shut the hell up.)