Democrat changes story about talks with Progress Kentucky's cofounders

The Democrat who said the leaders of the liberal group Progress Kentucky told him they bugged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign office is backing off a key part of his earlier account.

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Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee member Jacob Conway originally said the two cofounders of the small liberal super-PAC told him they had bugged McConnell's office. Now, Conway says he may not have talked to Shawn Reilly, one of the men he identified.

“I had a lot of conversations with both of them during that time period, and maybe I was just confused, and maybe Shawn never said anything," he told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Conway later said he stood by the "meat and potatoes" of his earlier comments — that Progress Kentucky was behind the taping.

"I stand by the comments I made to you and every other media outlet on Thursday, including the Courier-Journal," Conway said. "The meat and potatoes of what I said is the truth."

"Mr. Reilly has to deflect attention from himself by attacking me when all I was doing was telling the truth," Conway continued. "The real issue here is that they made a recording and the FBI is investigating. I'm a honest person no matter what Mr. Reilly or his attorney says."

The tapes were made public after being given to the liberal magazine Mother Jones, and included McConnell campaign staffers discussing whether to use actress Ashley Judd's previous struggles with mental illness against her should she decide to run against the senator. She later decided against a bid.


The leak seems to have backfired, helping to strengthen McConnell in the state. Most of the focus has been on the FBI investigation into who bugged McConnell's office, and on Conway's comments about his discussions with Progress Kentucky's leaders.

The story has also given McConnell's allies a chance to tie the fringe group to Democrats in and outside of the state.  

--This report was updated at 5:39 p.m.