Phillip M. Bailey

Political Editor

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Pages

Politics
3:56 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Democratic Leaders Knew of Sexual Harassment Claims, Filing Says

A Democratic state lawmaker says some of his colleagues told him to keep quiet allegations of sexual harassment and assault against a fellow legislator to protect the party's majority in upcoming elections

After WFPL News reported the accusations against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, early Wednesday, Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, took to the House floor to speak out against what he described as a culture of intimidation and sexism in the legislature.

In separate ethics complaints filed last week, two longtime Frankfort staffers, Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, outline a pattern of alleged harassment by Arnold dating back to 2010.

According to both women, they brought these issues to the attention of the Legislative Research Commission and top House Democratic leaders.

In a statement to ethics officials, Cooper alleges that on Feb. 14 Arnold walked up behind her and slapped her buttocks. She said she told House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and his chief of staff about the incident, but Arnold continued visiting her office and attempted to hug Cooper, the complaint said.

Costner's statement alleges that Arnold grabbed her underwear in March 2010, but that House Majority Whip Rep. John Will Stacy told her "(Arnold) was harmless."

Riner said a third woman is coming forward and that protecting staffers, who have little job security, matters more to him than who controls the state House.

"You cannot put this off until the next election," he said. "You cannot put this off until tomorrow. There are some things that are more important than which party gets in power. And one of those things is how we treat people that we have power over."

Read more
Politics
9:01 am
Wed August 21, 2013

EMILY's List Endorses Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky Senate

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes

The powerful pro-choice group EMILY's List is endorsing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race.

The group had encouraged Grimes to get in the Senate race as early as March, and has been helping the first-term secretary of state raise money in a bid to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

In an e-mail to supporters, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock called Grimes an "energetic rising star" who can beat McConnell.

"Mitch McConnell is one of the least liked senators in the country for a reason—he’s hopelessly out-of-touch with the needs of his state," Schriock said. "Alison is working tirelessly to make sure that Kentuckians’ voices are being heard."

EMILY's List is a political action committee that works to elect Democratic women who support reproductive rights. Last year, the group raised close to $52 million and is known to have an extensive national campaign network.

Grimes has avoided hot button national topics for the most part and her campaign website doesn't address social issues but rather focuses instead on jobs, veterans issues and protecting entitlements.

Read more
Politics
7:30 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Louisville Councilman Brent Ackerson Unveils Drastic Changes to Discretionary Spending

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26
Credit Louisville Metro Council

After an hour long deliberation of the Louisville Metro Council's ethics committee Democrat Brent Ackerson unveiled a 19-page draft of broad changes to discretionary spending rules on Tuesday.

The committee discussed a number of possible reforms including tighter rules for neighborhood grants and a resolution asking the General Assembly for a change in state law that would give the Metro Ethics Commission subpoena powers.

But the proposals Ackerson is outlining call for a drastic shift in policy such as blocking the use of neighborhood grant funding for community picnics and festivals unless there is a public purpose such as a health fair.

"At the end of the day I hope it will be equally offensive to all of us because that’s what it’s going to take here. This can’t be a situation where we say don’t touch my project or this or that," says Ackerson. "Let’s just vomit the ideas out there and flush through. If we’re going to bring out real change then let’s really do it."

He says it's important lawmakers put bold ideas out for the public to debate in the wake of Barbara Shanklin’s expulsion trial, which in part centered on the use of discretionary funds.

The plan also would forbid a single council member from spending over $15,000 on a single event. It would effectively stop the funding district events such as Newburg Day, which has received grants over $20,000 from Shanklin's office in years past.

Read more
Politics
2:12 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Donald Trump to Matt Bevin: 'You're Fired!'

Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin
Credit File photos

The campaigns representing Kentucky Republicans Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin have been trading barbs over Twitter in the wake of a McConnell attack ad questioning Bevin's ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I wonder what McConnell has on his LinkedIn page. Oh, wait, he's never had a job in the private sector so why would he need one," Bevin's Twitter page jabbed in response.

Read more
Politics
2:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Councilman Brent Ackerson Promises to Introduce 'Major Reforms' to Discretionary Spending

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26
Credit Louisville Metro Council

A Louisville Metro Council committee is set to review a series of so-called "sweeping changes" covering discretionary spending introduced by city Republicans, but one Democrat argues they don't go far enough.

The council GOP outlined a number of amendments to the neighborhood and capital accounts last week to funds that lawmakers receive annually.

Among the more drastic changes are putting a $15,000 cap on the $75,000 neighborhood funds that go towards non-profit groups.

Republicans argue those taxpayer funds would be better spent towards infrastructure needs, but Democrats say their poorer district rely on social service and other groups programming.

Other proposed changes would  tighten the definition of family members prohibited from benefiting from taxpayer-funded programs and bar the use of discretionary funds for constituent meals, cash incentives and employee bonuses.

But Democratic Councilman Brent Ackerson compared those reforms to "putting lipstick on a pig," in an effort to grab headlines in the wake of the Barbara Shanklin expulsion trial.

"Everyone’s talking about the need for sweeping reforms and if we’re going to do sweeping reforms then let’s do some real ones not just some little feel good, rah-rah put the (public) back at ease when we’re really not doing anything," he says. "If this were a car engine we’re talking about a complete tune-up and overhaul. And what I’ve heard from a number of other folks, I call it an oil change and a kick in the tires."

Read more
Politics
12:30 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Scolds Mitch McConnell Ad Targeting Matt Bevin

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Highlighting an appearance at the Kentucky State Fair this week, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is scolding the latest attack ad by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell against his primary opponent Matt Bevin.

The Grimes campaign says instead of "mudslinging" she is working with Kentucky's military service members.

From a Grimes spokesperson:

"As Senator McConnell turns to mudslinging his Republican opponent yet again, Alison Lundergan Grimes honored our men and women in uniform at the State Fair's Military Monday.

Kentuckians are ready for a leader in the U.S. Senate—not a career politician who has wasted decades in Washington playing political games."

It's the first comment from Grimes's people regarding the GOP battle. It also seeks to promote the "Grannies for Grimes" arm of her campaign in an effort to get attract senior votes.

Read more
Politics
10:28 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Mitch McConnell Campaign Ad: Matt Bevin 'Dishonest' About MIT Résumé

A copy of the certificate Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin received.

The campaign to re-elect Republican Senator Mitch McConnell launched a stinging attack ad against primary challenger Matt Bevin over his claims of educational ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In the 30-second spot, McConnell's campaign highlights reports from The Hill earlier this year about the Louisville businessman's LinkedIn page.

In March, Bevin had listed MIT under his education profile based his attendance at an entrepreneurial program on the MIT campus.

Critics argued Bevin was misleading people that he was either a MIT graduate or graduated from a MIT affiliated program.

Bevin later revised his social networking page after school officials told The Hill it was a three-week seminar with no formal link to the school.

Watch:

Read more
Politics
2:09 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Louisville Councilwoman Attica Scott Talks Vacant Properties With Senator Rand Paul

Democratic Louisville Councilwoman Attica Scott
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Saying neighborhood concerns come before partisan politics, Democratic Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott says she had a chance to discuss the problem of vacant and abandoned properties with Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul recently.

Paul and Scott met at the Louisville Forum last week, where the senator was the featured speaker and addressed a number of issues.

Among the topics Paul talked about were voting rights for minorities where he said there is no evidence that African-Americans are being barred from U.S. elections more than whites.

But Scott—who is vice chair of the council's vacant properties committee—says despite their  political differences Paul is committed to keeping the lines of communication open dilapidated housing.

"I am more concerned about finding solutions to some of our most pressing infrastructure and neighborhood needs than about partisan politics," she says. "Senator Paul and I have ideological differences on some issues, but we agree that we must be more aggressive in addressing abandoned and vacant properties which is a mutual area of concern."

A report shows swaths of empty homes are concentrated in parts of Scott's district, where up to 30 percent of properties are vacant. In a statement, Paul said he is interested in Scott's perspective on how to remove those abandoned properties in west Louisville.

Read more
Politics
1:05 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Congressman Hal Rogers Among Handful of Lawmakers Without Campaign Website

Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Ky.,

Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers is among a handful of lawmakers without a re-election website ahead of next year's election.

The overwhelming majority of those in Congress have a campaign up and running online, but a report by Smart Politics shows nine House members—mostly Democrats—haven't bothered to do so.

Part of the reason is lawmakers such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi represent safe districts and have won by comfortable margins for years.

Last year, Rogers, who is a Republican, won re-election by 56 points. He's been in Congress since 1981.

From Smart Politics:

If these representatives have been a bit lackadaisical in creating the digital building blocks for their 2014 reelection campaigns so far this year, it may be for the simple reason that they face virtually no threat of losing.

These nine incumbents have logged in an average 11.4 terms in the House and enjoyed an average victory margin of 65.3 points in the 2012 cycle.

Read more
Politics
10:02 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Tea Party Ads Pressure Mitch McConnell, GOP Senators to Defund Obamacare

Credit foramerica.org

A pair of Tea Party groups are increasing their pressure on Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Republican caucus to de-fund President Obama's health care at all costs.

Recently, McConnell questioned that strategy and said a government shutdown would not halt the Affordable Care Act's implementation.

The Washington Post's Aaron Blake reports Tea Party Patriots and For America are targeting McConnell's caucus in a series of online advertisements in the hopes of gaining traction.

For America has already put out an ad essentially calling McConnell a "chicken" for not being more supportive.

Watch:

Read more

Pages