The initial reaction from inside the Beltway was mostly to chastise McConnell for singling out Judd's mental problems that were publicized in her 2011 autobiography. The media and pundit class seemed ready to anoint whoever recorded McConnell's meeting as the next Woodward and Bernstein, but the fact that the conversation may have been recorded without anybody's consent (which could constitute a felony in many jurisdictions) drew comparisons to the Nixon Administration.
On Thursday, an official with the Democrat Part of Jefferson County, KY claimed that two senior members from a liberal Super PAC called Progress Kentucky had bragged about recording the meeting from an elevator after an open house at the newly-opened campaign HQ.
Jacob Conway, who is with the Jefferson County Democratic Party, told Fox News that two leaders with the group Progress Kentucky told him at the time that they recorded the session. He said it wasn't a "Nixonian bugging," but could have been recorded with an iPhone.Progress Kentucky is the same organization that sent out a series of tweets claiming that McConnell was disproportionately influenced by China because his wife- former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao- was born in Taiwan. Some of the tweets were quickly deleted after they were sent out in late February, but not before bloggers and websites like Twitchy were able to capture them for posterity.
Conway told Fox News they recorded the meeting from the hallway, and later told him about it.
"I don't know why they were at the grand opening of his campaign office. ... They overheard the conversation going on," he said. "To me it was an extremely tacky conversation ... but it was a private conversation nonetheless."
Conway did not specifically say the operatives gave the tape to Mother Jones, but said: "They told me they were there. They told me they were in the hallway. They have a recording. So you know, you can draw your own conclusions."
Conway, who said he used to be friends with the two individuals -- Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison -- said he came forward because he didn't want the situation tarnishing the Democratic Party.
The FBI has been interviewing both Reilly and Morrison as persons of interest in the case, sources tell Fox News, though it is too early to tell whether any law was broken.
At the national level, Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said the party does not condone secret tapings.
"We would never condone anything like this -- a secret taping. We would never condone it," he said. Woodhouse said he knows nothing about the group in question.
"Our reaction is that we would like the investigation to take its course."
Progress Kentucky has not returned a request for comment, but Reilly denied any wrongdoing through an attorney, who told The Hill that he is "at most a witness, not a suspect." The lawyer said Reilly also is working with authorities to locate Morrison.
The FBI is investigating the alleged recording at McConnell's request. A law enforcement official told Fox News the investigation is "moving along," and there are some "people of interest."
The FBI is conducting interviews and visited McConnell's campaign headquarters on Wednesday. Fox News confirms the FBI also pulled video surveillance footage.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told Fox News that there is a video camera in the lobby where anybody would have to pass through to get to the second floor, where the meeting in question took place.
"They certainly were not authorized to be there, if they were indeed there," Benton said of the Progress Kentucky operatives.