NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The fight to become Tennessee's next U.S. Senator got even dirtier on Thursday with the release of a misleading undercover video by a right-wing political group.
The video's creators, Project Veritas Action Fund, inaccurately identify workers in the undercover clip as staff members for Phil Bredesen's campaign. In the video, they vent their frustrations with Bredesen's decision to back Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court even after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault.
Officials with Tennessee Victory 2018, a Democratic-run organization working with candidates state-wide, say the people seen in the video have never worked for Bredesen and have no working knowledge of his campaign's tactics or strategies.
"These were just interns, they were volunteers," says Mark Brown with TN Victory 2018.
Officials from the TN GOP though take issue with that statement, citing FEC filings showing that the two workers in the video were being paid staffers of the TN Democratic Party.
In the video, one of the young workers can be heard saying, "Between you and me, if Phil gets in the Senate he'll be a good Democrat." You can view the video below.
The undercover video was shot by a woman who pretended to be a volunteer for TN Victory 2018. Officials tell NewsChannel 5 over the course of the two months she volunteered, she was regularly knocking on doors and making phone calls for Democratic candidates. As the woman is heard speaking to workers, she is labeled by Project Veritas as a journalist, which is also misleading to viewers.
"If she was passing herself off as a journalist that further raises questions about her credibility. She’s obviously not a journalist," says NewsChannel 5 political analyst Pat Nolan.
When asked further about the video, Mark Brown said, “This fake volunteer used secret video recording equipment to capture uninformed and speculative.” He added that the party was considering legal action against Project Veritas.
A spokesperson for Project Veritas Action Fund is standing behind their video, responding, in part, "The individuals we caught on tape were working and running the Bredesen campaign. In fact, we filmed them in Bredesen campaign offices."
TN Victory 2018, who those on tape were affiliated with, is a project of the Tennessee Democratic Party, not the Bredesen campaign, according to the group's website.
Marsha Blackburn's campaign responded with this statement today:
“Tennesseans are not ignorant, and in fact, they see through Phil Bredesen’s phony campaign tactics and now they’re seeing ‘Phony Phil’ at his worst. This is exactly the kind of ‘say whatever to get elected’ politics Tennesseans hate. Marsha always says you 'may not always agree with me, but you will always know where I stand.’ She will do the right thing for Tennessee every time, and Phil Bredesen will do what is politically expedient for him and the national Democrats who are propping up this campaign. After all, Phil has told us, he is running to end the dry spell for Tennessee Democrats.”