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.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Independent State House Candidate Releases 10-Point Platform to Improve State Government

Independent state House candidate John-Mark Hack

Independent state house candidate John-Mark Hack released a 10-point platform aimed at making Kentucky's government more accountable and transparent.

Hack is running for the 56th House District seat covering Woodford County, including parts Frankfort and Lexington vacated by former state Rep. Carl Rollins, who resigned.

The three-way special election also features Republican Lyen Crews and Democrat James Kay, and is being closely watched due to the close party margins in the state House, where Democrats hold the majority by just a 5-seat margin.

The proposals unveiled by Hack's campaign on Friday include withholding the salaries of state lawmakers if they fail to pass a budget, creating a non-partisan commission to draw legislative district lines and eliminating annual sessions.

Hack says the proposals are about changing the political culture of "arrogance and self-interest" in Frankfort.

Check them out:

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Politics
6:52 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Ethics Questions Raised After Mitch McConnell's Chief of Staff Appears in Politico Ad

Josh Holmes in Politico's ad.
Credit Politico

A Politico video featuring the chief of staff for Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been removed by the Washington publication after ethical questions were raised.

In a story first reported by Roll Call, an idea was pitched to McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes to appear in a video endorsing Politico's coverage. It shows Holmes explaining his vision for America, love of public service and why he reads Politico all while sitting in the senator's office.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Troubled by White House's String of Controversies

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says the Internal Revenue Service should examine the tax-exempt status of non-profit groups, but the agency failed to apply the policy evenly.

The IRS has been scolded over flagging conservative organizations with "tea party" and "patriot" in their name.

Reports found that at least 300 such groups were put into a "bucket " that received extra scrutiny, which held up applications for months.

Agency leaders have blamed the additional views on two "rogue" employees in their Cincinnati offices.

Yarmuth says the IRS scandal undermines good government and cannot be excused, but argues looking at those groups should be a role the agency fulfills.

"That behavior on the part of IRS is totally intolerable and while I actually think the kind of scrutiny that was applied to these groups is appropriate it should be applied to every 501(c)4. The law has to be enforced evenly and fairly, and the IRS has not done that," he says.

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Politics
11:37 am
Wed May 15, 2013

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: Mitch McConnell 'Will Not Have a Serious Opponent' Due to IRS Scandal

Credit Shutterstock

MSNBC host Chris Matthews is predicting the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives will benefit Republican Mitch McConnell, and could result in an easy re-election for Kentucky's senior senator.

The agency has apologized for flagging political organizations with "tea party" and "patriot" in their name, but Republicans and Democrats have jabbed the Obama administration for not responding forcefully enough.

McConnell has pounced on the IRS controversy after all but predicting the controversy when he spoke out against the IRS targeting such groups last summer. Speaking from the Senate floor Wednesday, McConnell warned the president shouldn't "stonewall" any investigation and dismissed the agency's explanation.

Speaking on Morning Joe, Matthews says the scandal will haunt President Obama and the Democratic Party in the 2014 elections, adding it will likely save McConnell from a serious challenge.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat May 11, 2013

Noise and Notes: The 'Herculean' JCPS Audit, Teacher's Union Blasted and Charter Schools

Jefferson County Public Schools is set to be the subject of a what observers are calling a "Herculean" state audit to review Kentucky's largest school district.

It's unclear what the JCPS audit will turn up, but most agree a review of the city's $1 billion budget with over 100,000 students is long overdue. Some school board members object to the examination by saying JCPS has been probed enough, but critics argue paying $125,000 to learn more about the district's finances and administration is important.

The review will focus on contracts, travel expenses and ethics policies, and especially the financial and administrative operations of the central office.

"This is the result of properly focused policy makers organically having conversations about how important public education is," Audit Adam Edelen has said.

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Politics
6:54 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Congressman Andy Barr Knocks 'War on Coal' Ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama's Visit

Congressman Andy Barr, R-Ky.,
Credit Barr Campaign

Republican Congressman Andy Barr is welcoming First Lady Michelle Obama to Kentucky this weekend, but took time to criticize the White House's energy policy in the process.

The First Lady will attend the spring commencement ceremony at Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday, where she will deliver the keynote address.

Mrs. Obama is speaking at EKU as part of her Joining Forces initiative to assist military families. Long lines are expected for those seeking to attend.

Barr says he hopes the visit will give the district an opportunity to showcase its local economy including the horse industry, but took a shot at the Obama administration's environmental regulations.

"I hope the First Lady will also take back with her to Washington a better understanding of the detrimental effects of the administration’s 'War on Coal' that is raising energy prices and crippling the futures of many of the very graduates to whom she will speak," he says. "It is my sincere hope that she will benefit from her time in the Sixth District and return with a new appreciation about the need to support policies that will get Kentuckians back to work."

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Politics
1:09 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Mitch McConnell Demands White House Investigate IRS for Targeting Conservative Groups

Credit U.S. Senate

Update: White House spokesman Jay Carney says an inspector general is looking into the matter

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is calling on the Obama administration to conduct a government-wide probe in the wake of an admission by the Internal Revenue Service that it targeted conservative groups.

 

The IRS apologized on Friday for inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

McConnell says the admission is proof that his earlier concerns were well founded, adding the White House needs to review the agency's actions.

"Now more than ever we need to send a clear message to the Obama administration that the First Amendment is non-negotiable, and that apologies after an election year are not an sufficient response to what we now know took place at the IRS," he says. "This kind of political thuggery has absolutely no place in our politics."

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Politics
5:45 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Questions Governor's Decision to Expand Medicaid

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell questioned Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's long-awaited decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the president's health care law, arguing it will expose Kentuckians to increasing costs.

As Kentucky Public Radio's Kenny Colston reports, Beshear, a Democrat, announced the state's Medicaid program will extend coverage to over 300,000 Kentuckians under the Affordable Care Act or what opponents calls Obamacare.

This means the state's Medicaid rolls will extend to more low-income and poor people who are below 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

The governor called it the right thing to do, and the decision was praised by fellow Democrats and health advocacy groups.

However, Kentucky's senior senator warned the extension will be costly for residents and hurt small businesses.

"Given Kentucky’s struggles to finance its current Medicaid program and the uncertainty of future federal funding, I am surprised the governor would make this decision to further implement Obamacare and expose the commonwealth’s taxpayers to more open ended expenses they cannot afford," McConnell said in a statement.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Councilman Ken Fleming Says NBA Study Shows Louisville's 'Poor Business Climate'

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The chair of the Republican caucus in the Louisville Metro Council says a study on attracting an NBA franchise shows the city needs to improve its business climate and lift tax burdens.

A summary of the report, which was commissioned by Greater Louisville Inc., found Louisville has an enthusiastic fan base and downtown arena to attract a professional basketball franchise. What the city lacks is a proper corporate base to lease the necessary amount of suites at the KFC Yum Center.

At least one city lawmaker argues that illustrates a larger problem regarding burdensome government taxes, which he claims limit Louisville’s business growth that would attract the NBA and other amenities.

"We are a hamster on an exercise wheel: we work, we work, we work. We get off it, but yet we’re still stuck in the cage of state and government regulation," says Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7. "That’s why this whole state and particularly Louisville can’t do anything because we have politicians that can’t get their head out of the clouds and get down to the brass tacks  of doing things and changing this tax structure."

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Councilwoman Scott to Host Mayor Fischer, GLI Chief on District 'Reality Ride'

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, will host Mayor Greg Fischer and the new CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. on a "reality ride" through southwestern parts District 1.

Since taking office, Scott has held several tours through neighborhoods in west and southwest Louisville with city officials to show them blight, crime and economic issues.

This tour with Fischer and GLI Inc. CEO Craig Richard has been in the works for several weeks.

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