Has DOJ Given McConnell Bugging Suspect ‘Journalist’ Status?

June 26, 2013 | Filed Under 1st Amendment, Anti-Americanism, Barack Obama, Congress, Constitution, Courts, Democrats/Leftists, DOJ, Elections, Ethics, Journalism, Law, Liberals, Media, Media Bias, President, Progressives, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off

-By Warner Todd Huston

A recent Politico story seems to indicate that the Department of Justice is stymied on its prosecution of the political activist that recorded a private campaign meeting between Senator Mitch McConnell and his staff because the DOJ considers the activist a “journalist” and wants to tread gingerly as a result.

The “bugging” incident came to light early in April when a recording of the private, closed-door meeting was released by Mother Jones magazine. It was soon revealed that Curtis Morrison, a political activist that works for the left wing political group Progress Kentucky, used his flip cam to record what he could hear of the meeting through a closed door in McConnell’s Senate offices.

Even with charges of illegal recording–essentially a bugging–Morrison is unbowed. In an op ed in he was defiant saying he’d do it all over again, illegal or not.

The U.S. Attorney in Kentucky did start an investigation into the incident, but it wasn’t long before the whole thing ground to a halt. The lead prosecutor, David Hale, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, recused himself because he’s been mentioned as a nominee for a possible federal judgeship.

At the beginning of June, Morrison reported that he was ready for a meeting between the U.S. attorney and his lawyer, but due to Hale’s recusal the meeting was canceled and has yet to be rescheduled.

The DOJ claims that it isn’t dragging its feet on the case, but a recent Politico article seems to prove otherwise.

In the June 21 piece, Politico notes that the DOJ in Washington has officially entered the case as opposed to leaving it located solely in the Kentucky offices of the U.S. Attorney. This seems to be because the bugger is being defined as a “journalist” as opposed to a political activist.

Politico says that, “any attempts to subpoena evidence from Curtis Morrison–a liberal activist who surreptitiously taped McConnell and his aides at a campaign meeting in February–would most likely need the personal approval of Attorney General Eric Holder, according to federal regulations, which require Holder to approve subpoenas for journalists.”

Bringing charges against journalists has become a political hot potato since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his crew were found to have secretly obtained the personal and business phone records of 100 reporters from the Associated Press and accused several Fox reporters of “aiding and abetting” illegal security leaks.

So, now, all of a sudden, the DOJ is squeamish about subpoenaing a “journalist.”

But it is pretty clear that bugger Morrison is not a journalist–or at least was not acting in that role during this incident–but is, instead, a mere political activist. As it happens, he wasn’t even reporting for a blog. He was acting in a purely political manner. He even more or less admitted as much in his op ed.

In fact, the news service he was working for, the Internet-based “Insider Louisville,” fired him the second this all came to light.

After he fired Morrison, Terry Boyd, the website’s editor, said, “It was my mistake to keep Curtis without an explicit guarantee he wouldn’t indulge in politics. A painful lesson we’ll never repeat.”

It is clear that Morrison was acting as a political “gotcha” artist and not representing any journalistic news outlet or blog.

Regardless, it appears that Eric Holder and his office is suddenly gun shy about acting against a “journalist,” and, wouldn’t you know it, it is in a case where that action would benefit a Republican if he did.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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