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
1:47 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Committee to Amend Discretionary Funds Policy

The Louisville Metro Council Accountability and Ethics Committee is voting Tuesday on more changes to the policy that governs the distribution of taxpayer dollars to non-profit groups.

A recent audit found that half of the discretionary grants given out by city lawmakers lacked proper documentation to determine if the funds were being spent properly.

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the accountability committee and a co-sponsor of the proposal along with Council President Jim King, D-10. He says the amendments being proposed give non-profit groups clear guidelines and should help restore public trust.

"The resolution that we’re going to hear today will start us on the path of restoring public confidence in this process, regardless of what individual council people—including myself—think of the overall process we have to be able to restore confidence that public funds are being used appropriately," says Miller.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Marks One-Year Anniversary

Protestors with Occupy Wall Street are marking their one-year anniversary with demonstrations this week, but critics argue the movement has lost momentum and is in disarray.

The protests started in New York City's financial district in reaction to corporate greed, rising unemployment and the national recession. It drew attention to the country’s income gap and economic inequality by rallying behind the 99 percent of wage earners. Several other Occupy demonstrations sprouted up across the country to address foreclosures and affordable housing and saw varying degrees of success.

But opponents say the movement has died down because the leaderless coalition had no clear platform or strategy.

From L.A. Times:

Yet the movement cannot claim any new policy, law or regulation as its own. Unlike the Tea Party on the political right, there is no cohesive Occupy group promoting candidates in November's national election.

Karl Zoellner is a spokesman for Occupy Louisville. He says the movement is in transition, but has successfully pushed an agenda.

"The name, the brand Occupy is not on the front burner like it once was. But the issues of the 99 percent, which is something that the Occupy Wall Street brought attention to, has in turn become the focus of thousands of social justice organizations across the United States," he says.

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Poll Shows McConnell, Paul With Majority Approval Ratings

A majority of Kentucky voters approve of the jobs that Republican U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are doing in Washington, according to a new Bluegrass Poll.

The poll shows McConnell, who is running for re-election in two years, holding a 51 percent job approval rating among likely voters with 42 percent disapproving of the GOP leader's performance. Similarly, Paul has a 53 percent approval but a slightly lower disapproval rating at 38 percent almost two years after being elected.

As The Courier-Journal's James Carroll reports, political observers argue that this bodes well for both lawmakers when considering the historic low numbers for Congress overall.

From The Courier-J:

The poll numbers for McConnell and Paul indicate no potential re-election problems, said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

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Politics
10:44 pm
Sat September 15, 2012

Noise and Notes: Brooks Wicker Makes His Case for Congress

Republican Brooks Wicker is running for Kentucky's Third Congressional District seat against three-term Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth.

You may not have heard of Wicker's candidacy, which is mainly because he was struggled to raise enough funds to get his message out to voters. Thus far he has raised just $5,000, but the Louisville accountant promises he will have enough to hold Yarmuth accountable.

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Politics
6:41 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Paul Proposes Cutting Foreign Aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has proposed new amendments to strip foreign aid from Pakistan, Egypt and Libya, that would triple funding for a jobs bill for American veterans.

The proposal is in reaction to recent protests and attacks against American consulates and embassies in Libya and Egypt, including the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. It is also aimed at drawing attention t the continued imprisonment of Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden.

Total U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt totals approximately $4 billion annually.

Paul's amendment will cut that aid and put an additional $2 billion toward a veterans jobs bill that is moving its way through the Senate. The remaining $2 billion would go to deficit reduction.
 
"I urge (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid to do the right thing for taxpayers and veterans: To send a message to countries that our aid can’t be taken for granted, and to stand up for our troops abroad now, and those who have returned home after serving," says Paul. "He can do all of this by allowing a vote on my amendment. My amendment would halt all foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya, and would use those funds to triple the size of the veterans jobs bill. The only thing now standing in the way of this is the Democratic Senate Leadership."

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Politics
12:31 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Young Agrees to Two Debates Against Yoder

Republican incumbent Todd Young has agreed to participate in two debates in Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District race, but Democratic challenger Shelli Yoder wants more forums.

The debates will be held at Franklin College in Johnson County and O'Bannon Publishing in Harrison County, but the Yoder campaign alleges Young is ignoring the need for additional debates in populated areas.

Last month, Yoder called for 13 debates in each county across the southern Indiana district.

Yoder campaign manager Katie Carlson says Young sought seven debates when he ran against then-Congressman Baron Hill two years ago, and that the negotiations are ongoing.

"We have not reached an agreement on the number of debates. We believe that more debates are necessary to give voters of the Ninth District an opportunity to hear from both of their candidates for Congress and an opportunity to discuss issues that are most important to them," she says.

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Politics
9:45 am
Thu September 13, 2012

McConnell Recruits Tea Party Campaign Manager for Re-Election Bid

Seeking a sixth term, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has hired a Tea Party strategist who led campaigns for fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

McConnell announced he hired Jesse Benton as his campaign manager for re-election on Thursday despite having no primary or general election opponent. Benton led Congressman Ron Paul's presidential primary race and worked for Rand Paul's Senate bid as well.

"We’re committed to running a presidential-level campaign in Kentucky, and that starts with a presidential campaign manager," McConnell told The Washington Post. "Jesse is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements, and I’m thrilled he’s chosen to return to Kentucky to lead my campaign."

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Politics
2:47 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Yarmuth: Romney Unqualified for Presidency

Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is slamming Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his hasty comments during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.

The raid of the consulate was allegedly sparked by an American video mocking Islam's founding prophet and resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

In a campaign statement released before the killing, Romney accused the Obama administration of sympathizing with protestors who attacked the consulate. The GOP nominee's remarks were referring to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Egypt, which condemned the anti-Islam video.

Yarmuth says the death of the four U.S. diplomats is disturbing and underscores the volatility of the Middle East, but that Romney’s rush to judgment shows the GOP nominee is intemperate.

"Governor Romney’s initial reaction, an instinct to turn a tragedy into a political opportunity is despicable and disqualifies him to serve as President of the United States," he says.

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Politics
2:05 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Watchdog Group Names Congressman Rogers Among Most Corrupt Lawmakers

Congressman Hal Rogers

A national watchdog group has named Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., among the most corrupt lawmakers in the country.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-partisan group, released its annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report Wednesday, which lists 12 members it alleges have engaged in misconduct.

The report calls out Rogers for directing millions of dollars in earmarks to a Kentucky-based company that has contributed to his campaign. Phoenix Products Co. located in Maceo, Ky., has been paid $6.5 million by the U.S. Army for hundreds of leak-proof drip pans for military helicopters.

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Phoenix Products was paid $17,000 per drip pan, but that competitor businesses said similar products cost only $2,500.

Melanie Sloan is executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. She says Rogers is a frequent offender, and constituents concerned about fiscal responsibility should be alarmed.

"While these may be made in Kentucky this is hurting America. We have a huge deficit. We can’t afford all of our bills. And here it is we’re paying over $14,500 extra for each drip pan. And that’s taxpayer money. So we should all be concerned,” she says.

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Politics
11:49 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Paul Outraged Over Ambassador Stevens Killing, Demands Sanctions

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is calling for sanctions against Libya in reaction to the killing of four American diplomats, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

From Paul's office:
 
"I am heartbroken and outraged by the murder of four U.S. citizens, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
 
The perpetrators of this senseless attack must be brought to justice. I, therefore, demand that until the Libyan police hand over suspects to U.S officials, any U.S. foreign aid to the government of Libya be contingent on their full support in this matter."

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