Here are the stories we discussed today on Byline (full audio below):
At the top – Experts on congressional ethics say a past business relationship between a Kentucky congressman and a nationally known lobbyist raises some serious questions about the comingling of legislative and personal agendas. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting’s R.G. Dunlop has been looking into the 2003 purchase of some high value real estate made by 1st District Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield, his wife, Connie Harriman-Whitfield, and lobbyist Juanita Duggan. Some of Duggan’s clients have lobbied Whitfield and contributed to his political campaigns. We speak with R.G. Dunlop about his investigation.
9:20 – Governor Steve Beshear has signed an order to plug a $91 million hole in Kentucky’s $9.5 billion state budget. Officials announced the shortfall last week. We check in with Kentucky Public Radio’s Jonathan Meador for details.
16:35 – The Louisville Metro Council Democratic Caucus has reprimanded Councilman Dan Johnson’s aide for making disparaging comments about another council member, David James. That’s according to documents obtained by WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey, who reported the story this week and joins us to share what is known at this point. We also discuss the possibility of a McConnell/Grimes debate at Centre College in Danville.
23:55 – General Electric is once again looking sell its Louisville-based appliance business. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reports that GE is in talks with potential acquirers about selling the appliance division. GE officials are not commenting publicly on the Bloomberg report, which was co-written by David Welch. We reached out to Welch in New York to hear what he knows and his insights on the potential deal as an acquisitions and mergers reporter.
30:00 – People with driver’s licenses from Kentucky and nine other states may soon have to show a passport or some other form of federal identification to comply with a federal law tightening security across the country. Under the REAL ID Act of 2005, some of the tougher identification standards are expected to go into effect next week at some federal facilities. WFPL’s Jake Ryan joins us to talk about it. We also discuss a demonstration this week at a Metro Housing Authority Meeting. Residents of public housing are speaking out against a rent reform study being considered in Louisville that many call a social experiment on poor African American women.
36:25 – WFPL’s arts and humanities reporter Erin Keane talks about a couple of notable arts events this weekend in Louisville, then she welcomes WFPK’s Sean Cannon to talk about some of the highlights of the Forecastle music festival occurring this weekend on the waterfront.