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
5:00 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Chief Conrad Talks Shanklin Probe, Challenges Residents to Help Fight Crime

File photo

Speaking before the Louisville Forum on Wednesday, Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad challenged residents and city institutions to do more to detour violent crime while addressing a probe into Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's office.

The city has seen several high-profile acts of violence recently, such as a shooting spree this May in the Parkland neighborhood that killed three and injured others. Since then, there have been other brazen incidents, such as the murder of a 15-year-old high Shawnee High school student and an assault rifle homicide in Old Louisville.

Conrad says the police force can’t arrest its ways out of this problem and that there are many things social services and the community can do to reduce incidents like the shooting spree in west Louisville.

"There were many, many points between the day of that shooting (in Parkland) and when those people were born where families could have gotten involved, churches could have gotten involved and social services could have gotten involved," he says. "So we need to look for other institutions to help make a stronger and more sustainable community."

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Politics
3:10 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Ethics Watchdog Files Complaint Against Shanklin

The chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky has filed a complaint with the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission against Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, citing a series of media reports over the past two months.

It alleges Shanklin violated the Metro Government code of ethics by using her office to benefit herself and her relatives. Earlier this week, the county attorney advised council members to not launch their own investigation into Shaklin's handling of an upholstery program until the city auditor and the Metro Police Public Integrity Unit complete their review.

Common Cause Chairman Richard Beliles says news reports have raised serious questions about Shanklin's decision-making and use of taxpayer dollars that need to be answered, but he isn't seeking her removal from office.

"She has a right to defend herself and to see what proof comes out of the hearings. I hope she's got real good reasons to prove she's done nothing wrong. We're not out to get her, but we are interested in protecting the public interest," he says. "I'm a lawyer and we can't jump to conclude that somebody is guilty, but I believe that my complaint shows these are issues that should be raised to protect the public."

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Politics
10:52 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Donnelly Compares Mourdock to Heckler

In the Indiana Senate race, Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly has launched a new ad criticizing Republican Richard Mourdock for rejecting compromise.

The 30-second spot features Donnelly on a basketball court coaching a group of children with a message of teamwork and a Mourdock impersonator heckling the congressman from the bleachers.

"You know, nothing gets done by yelling from the bleachers," says Donnelly. "It’s time for Hoosier common sense."

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Politics
4:27 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Shanklin Furious With Fischer Administration Over C-J Comments

Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, has spurned an invitation from Mayor Greg Fischer, citing his administration's comments regarding the use of city grants for an upholstery job training program.

Last Friday, a Fischer spokesman told The Courier-Journal  the program for ex-offenders should have ended on November 14 as ordered by the city and that it appears "city tax dollars are not spent as they’re intended to be." It was discovered that Shanklin continued to fund the program and personally signed an $836 check despite Metro Corrections ending it due to a lack of former inmate referrals.

"The published reports raise concerns with Dr. Shanklin over how the mayor's office has responded," says Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt, confirming that Shanklin called Fischer's office to reject an invitation to celebrate renovations at Petersburg Park in District 2 later this week.

According to Hyatt, Shanklin says corrections tried to kill the upholstery training while two people were still going through the course, and that the neighborhood association decided to finish out the last month of training.

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Politics
1:03 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

McConnell: President Wants Tax Hike for Small Businesses

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., quickly came out against President Obama's push for Congress to end the Bush-era tax cuts for those who making over $250,000 annually.

The president spoke from the White House on Monday, arguing that he has cut taxes for the middle-class Americans and that 97 percent of all businesses would not see their taxes increase. It renews a previous fight between Mr. Obama and Republican lawmakers, but the proposal also puts the administration at odds with congressional Democrats who have called for extending the the cuts for everyone except people earning more than $1 million a year.

McConnell says the proposal is a tax hike that will hurt job creators.

From McConnell's office:

"It’s not an accident that the President didn’t explain how his plan to raise taxes on small businesses will create jobs—he can’t say that with a straight face, it simply isn’t true. In fact, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, nearly a million small businesses would feel this tax hike right away, and up to a quarter of the entire American workforce depends on these employers for a paycheck.

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Politics
10:47 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Donnelly Raises $900,000 in Second Quarter

In the Indiana Senate race, the campaign for Democrat Joe Donnelly announced it has raised $900,000 in the second quarter.

The total is an improvement for the Indiana congressman, who faces Republican Richard Mourdock in the general election this fall. Donnelly had been reporting lackluster fundraising totals for a Senate candidate during the primary, which worried state Democrats.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Noise and Notes: The Politics of Pot and Remembering Rev. Louis Coleman

Probably more than most states, Kentucky is associated with marijuana.

Six months before the General Assembly reconvenes, state Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, unveiled a bill that would legalize medical marijuana dubbed the "Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act."

The legislation has gotten national attention, but also drawn sharp criticism from state police and political opponents despite medical marijuana being legal in 17 other states.

I sat down with Clark in a candid conversation about the political risk involved with introducing such a bill and why he believes Kentucky should be leading the legalization movement.

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Politics
6:32 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

NY Times Editorial Goes After McConnell Over Disclose Act

File photo

In a stinging editorial, the New York Times chastises Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for opposing legislation that would require Super PACs to disclose their donor lists to the public.

Last month, McConnell delivered a pointed speech against the Disclose Act where he argued it was an attempt by the Obama administration to intimidate conservative donors and organizations. The GOP leader went as far as to accuse the president of engaging in Nixonian harassment to undermine the First Amendment.

But those in support of the bill—including Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky.—argue the measure is necessary to know who is behind political ads in the Citizens United world.

From the New York Times:

The vast majority of the secret money going into “social welfare” organizations like Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove, is being spent on behalf of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates, and the Disclose Act is coming up for another vote in a few weeks. So Mr. McConnell needs a new excuse for filibustering it again. But his suggestion that President Obama and Democrats want disclosure in order to compile a list of “enemies” is repugnant.

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Politics
3:35 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Ackerson Wants Government Accountability Panel to Investigate Shanklin

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26.
Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26, is calling on the government accountability committee to investigate Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, who has been embroiled in a series of scandals.

Since May, Shanklin has faced mounting questions about the use of citys grants from her office, particularly for an upholstery training program for ex-convicts that served no former inmates but that she and her relatives participated in.

The city's internal audit is conducting a review of the jobs program and a report is pending.

It has also been reported that $3,000 in taxpayer money went to Shanklin's family members through funding of the Petersburg-Newburg Neighborhood Association, which she is a board member. Until last year, Shanklin has personally signed checks to the group  since 2005.

An audit of council discretionary spending found a lack monitoring in the majority of those grants, but the report called out Shanklin specifically for having a conflict of interest in funding the neighborhood group while being a board member.

Ackerson says he is concerned about the oversight of taxpayer dollars as well as media reports, adding he wants to know the full story behind Shanklin's controversies.

"Controversy such as this do not bode will for government period. There's a lot of questions that are raised about discretionary funds. Negative stories out there that don't talk about everything and don't give government a chance to address those, all they do is create improper conclusions. And I'm a firm believer in discretionary funds and what they can do for an area," he says.

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Politics
2:43 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Gregg Maintains Attacks on Pence Over Health Care, 9/11 Comparison

In the Indiana governor's race, Democrat John Gregg is continuing to bash Republican Mike Pence over controversial remarks comparing the Supreme Court's health care ruling to the terror attacks of September 11.

The Gregg campaign is touting an interview Pence did with a local television station in Indianapolis, which asked him to clarify his original comment. But the congressman refuses to tell reporters what the initial remarks were.

Check it out:

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