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
11:58 am
Mon October 8, 2012

WaPo Questions Yarmuth Votes and Family Ties

U.S. Congress

An analysis by The Washington Post shows U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has supported a number of bills that benefit the home health care industry, which the three-term Congressman has a $5 million investment in through his brother's business.

The article looks at several members of Congress who have either sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that could personally benefit themselves or a family members's businesses. It goes through financial disclosure forms and other public records, and questions whether more reforms are needed.

Yarmuth’s brother owns Almost Family, a home health care business that provides nursing, rehabilitation and other personal care services. The newspaper reports that Yarmuth, who is a shareholder, did seek an opinion from the ethics committee on whether he could vote on bills relating to the industry when he took office in 2007.

But a trade group representing home health care businesses has lobbied on five bills Yarmuth has co-sponsored.

From The Washington Post:

In office, Yarmuth joined the congressional Home Health Caucus, a group of two dozen lawmakers that promotes the value of in-home health care.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Noise and Notes: Presidential Debate Afterthoughts and Norris Shelton's Pitch for Frankfort

Louisville Public Media

The first presidential debate is behind us, and observers are still digesting how President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney performed.

It was a much anticipated discussion that about 67 million Americans watched, but surprisingly both Mr. Obama's critics and supporters agreed that the president gave a lackluster performance.

Romney was more aggressive and forceful, and this could be the turning point his campaign needs less than five weeks until Election Day. For many, this puts added pressure on Vice President Joe Biden in his debate against Congressman Paul Ryan on Thursday in Danville, Ky.

But the president's supporters point out that while Romney may have won the style of the debate his facts do not add up on a number of his assertions.

I talked to political commentator Stacy Brooks and Louisville Young Republicans Chairman James Young about the debate, Mr. Obama's performance and where the election is headed.

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Politics
1:40 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Wicker Questions Jobs Report

Wicker
Wicker campaign

Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker joined a chorus of conservatives who are claiming the September jobs report was manipulated by President Obama for political purposes.

The report compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistic was released Friday and shows the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent, which is the lowest since January 2009. According to the report, the U.S. economy added 114,000 jobs last month while other figures were revised from July and August to add another 86,000 jobs.

But former GE CEO Jack Welch and Florida Congressman Allen West quickly denounced the report and accused Mr. Obama of massaging the figures.

In a message to supporters, Wicker said he is "sick of political games" being played by the president and his opponent, Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth.

"The math is simple and the jobs numbers just don’t add up. We deserve better than politicians  "revising" numbers, solely concerned about their own re-election. We need to fix the problem of Washington politicians. I will not compromise my integrity to win an election. We need to govern for future generations, and fix this mess Yarmuth helped create," he says.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Williams Interested in Judicial Appointment

Kentucky Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, would consider a judicial appointment if Governor Steve Beshear offered the position, a spokesperson confirmed.

Rumors have been swirling in Frankfort that Beshear is planning to offer his bitter rival Williams, who is a trial lawyer, the open circuit court seat in his southern Kentucky district. The seat was left vacant due to the death of Judge Eddie Lovelace last month.

"If there is an appointment offer, Sen. Williams will consider it," says Senate GOP spokeswoman Lourdes Báez-Schrader.

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Politics
1:15 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Holsclaw Defends Clerk’s Office Against State Audit

Holsclaw

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is criticizing Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen over a critical report and alleging the findings are motivated by his political ambitions.

Edelen’s audit of the clerk was released Wednesday and found Holsclaw’s office paid employees illegal Christmas bonuses and failed to fully document funds collected for local charities.

Among the audit’s findings was a check written by Holsclaw’s office to the Crusade for Children last year that was approximately $1,300 less than the amount collected. Besides poor documentation of the charitable fundings the audit showed that checks from the Crusade account went to breakfasts and lunches, fundraising awards and retirement party expenses.

It also found that around $99,000 in Christmas bonuses had been paid to employees last December, but the Kentucky Constitution prohibits that practice.

Holsclaw says previous state audits have not shown any accounting issues or wrongdoing, and she questions whether Edelen’s report is politically motivated.

"I can’t speak for this auditor. I don’t even know the man. I do know this; he has a reputation of being very ambitious," she says. "I will certainly say that I admire people who are ambitious. But I will not sit by and allow that to happen at the expense of the reputation of this office."

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Politics
12:51 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

State Audit Finds Poor Documentation, Troubling Practices in Jefferson County Clerk’s Office

An audit of Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw's office shows poor record keeping of charitable funds and others questionable administrative practices regarding a non-profit and employee bonuses.

The report was conducted by State Auditor Adam Edelen, and it scolds the clerk for failing to properly account for funds that her office raised for charities such as the Crusade for Children and USA Cares Inc.

Among its findings were that Holsclaw paid $99,200 in Christmas bonuses to employees last year. According to the clerk's office the $400 per employee bonus was an incentive for good work, but Edelen's office points out that the practice is prohibited by the Kentucky Constitution and should be stopped.

Auditor spokeswoman Stephanie Steitzer says the report is not alleging any criminal activity, but does contain  several recommendations to help save the taxpayer’s money.

"We are pointing out that there are some areas of concern where she can make—we make recommendations for improvement—again, to limit the risk to taxpayers and to herself," she says.

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Politics
6:30 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Bellarmine to Host Metro Council District 8 Debate

Bellarmine University will host a debate for voters in the Metro Council 8th District featuring Republican challenger Kirt Jacobs and Democratic incumbent Tom Owen.

Owen is a three-term councilman and his seat is being challenged by Jacobs in the upcoming election. Jacobs is a local businessman who hosts "Leadership Landscape" a weekly one-on-one interview program.

Earlier this year, observers speculated that the 72-year-old Owen might retire and not seek re-election, but the longtime city lawmakers says he is committed to serving a full term and though he has won previous races by wide margins, he is taking this year’s election seriously.

"You would know by my current jitters that I am neither complacent about my request for the voters to send me for an additional term nor am I in anyway blasé or arrogant just presuming victory," he says.

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Politics
3:52 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Huckabee to Headline Louisville Fundraiser for House GOP Candidates

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

Former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will be in Louisville this week to headline a fundraiser for state House GOP candidates.

In Kentucky’s history, the GOP has held the majority in the state House for only four years and just briefly in the 1920s. This November, Republicans need to win 10 seats to gain control of the House from the Democrats, who hold a 59-to-41 majority.

Last month, House GOP leaders unveiled their platform, which includes reforming the state tax code, cutting Medicaid spending and requiring each bill be read before a vote.

Republican Caucus spokesman Joe Burgan says Huckabee’s appearance demonstrates how serious the GOP is about winning this fall.

"It really speaks to the opportunity that Republicans have this fall," he says. "The governor is coming to town because he realizes for the first time in 91 years we have the chance to take the state House and set a new course for Kentucky."

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Politics
1:58 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

High Anticipation for First Presidential Debate

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are preparing for their first debate this week, and observers are eager to see if it will impact the race.

Both campaigns have been complimentary of each other and are trying to lower expectations before the televised debate in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday in order to gain an advantage going in. But experts agree that stakes are higher for Romney, who trails the president according to most polls in battleground states.

Tiffany Dillard-Knox is acting director of the University of Louisville debate team. She says people are excited to watch the first presidential debate, but that the forums are becoming more of a liability.

"I think the debates more likely can make you lose a candidacy more so than win one. You can say the wrong things. I don’t think people are really listening for the right things anymore. But I think people are taking into consideration when the candidates are saying the wrong things," she says.

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Politics
12:10 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Brown Voices Disgust With McConnell's Leadership

During a televised debate with Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Ma., voiced his displeasure with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and said he's undecided on voting for him to lead the GOP caucus.

President Obama is leading in Massachusetts by at least 30 points, and Brown is stressing his role as a moderate Republican with a bipartisan record. Asked if he'd support McConnell next year, Brown said he was undecided and voiced disgust with Congress.

Watch (h/t LEO Weekly):

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