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Kentucky Dem: ProgressKY is ‘an embarrassment to politics’


The progressive super PAC entangled in the saga over secret recordings that exposed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s smear-campaign ambitions against actress Ashley Judd is taking heat from the left for running a second-rate operation.

Progress Kentucky, a liberal-leaning super PAC striving to oust their Republican Senate leader, does not have funds to make much of a dent on McConnell’s re-election efforts. According to its latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Progress Kentucky has raised just about $1,000 and has spent $18.

“The so-called super PAC is two basic amateurs ” said Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat. “Young guys who have no more than a thousand dollars… They are like petty thieves.”

“They’re an embarrassment to the system. They’re an embarrassment to politics. They should just retire from this effort,” he said on Weekends with Alex Witt Saturday.

The spotlight on Progress Kentucky comes after Mother Jones on Tuesday posted surreptitious recordings in which McConnell and his aides are heard plotting to use Judd’s religion and medical history against her, should she run for his seat in the upcoming 2014 election. Since the release of the recordings, the McConnell camp has called for an FBI investigation, believing their office was bugged “Watergate” style.

On Thursday, a local Democratic Party official told NBC News that two members of Progress Kentucky were taking credit for recording the behind-closed-doors meeting. But in an interview with The Courier-Journal Saturday, Jacob Conway, a member of the executive committee of Louisville and Jefferson County Democratic Party, backtracked on implicating the two activists, saying “Maybe I was just confused.”

While acknowledging that the members of Progress Kentucky were in McConnell’s Louisville office building where the meeting took place, the lawyer for at least one activist is denying that his client was ever involved in recording the Senate leaders’ conversation.

The recordings have garnered some sympathy for the Republican leader, focusing on his victimization rather than the content on the tapes. Yarmuth told msnbc’s Alex Witt Saturday that although McConnell has benefited slightly from being portrayed as a victim, he’s still unpopular in his home state.

“He’s not liked in Kentucky and I hope we can find a very strong candidate to oppose him,” Yarmuth said.

Kentucky Dem: ProgressKY is 'an embarrassment to politics'