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
9:15 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Ethics Commission Remains Without Subpoena Power

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission still cannot compel witnesses to testify, which could impact a possible hearing involving Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin.

Over the past year the commission has addressed a number of procedural and policy weaknesses it discovered during the course of two hearings against former Councilwoman Judy Green. The panel has since hired a full-time legal counsel and requested the council tinker with parts of the city code of ethics.

But in its 2011 annual report the commission said the lack of subpoena powers remains a serious challenge to its ability to enforce the law and is ultimately a question of state law that the General Assembly must address.

"At this point in time without that power people come voluntarily and provide testimony on their own," says Ethics Commission Chairman Jonathan Ricketts. "And without being able to compel their attendance we’re limited in what we can bring and evaluate."

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Obama Will Touch Down in Kentucky for Ohio Visit

In the 2012 presidential race Kentucky is assuredly in the Republican column, but President Barack Obama will be in the commonwealth briefly today—to visit Ohio.

The president is scheduled to hold a campaign event in Cincinnati and Air Force One will touchdown in the city's airport, which is in Erlanger, Kentucky. According to the White House, Mr. Obama will outline a plan to restore the middle-class, paying down our debt and grow the national economy.

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Politics
9:34 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

Noise and Notes: WLKY Blackout and Living The DREAM Act

The latest blackout by Time Warner has struck CBS affiliate WLKY, but unlike the battle with FOX affiliate WDRB the cable giant has been much more shrewd in this instance.

Local television viewers can still watch CBS programming but Time Warner has taken the local newscasts off the air by switching to an affiliate in Rochester, New York. WFPL News Director Gabe Bullard and University of Louisville communications professor Ralph Merkel ignited an insightful conservation about that and other media happenings.

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Politics
3:47 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Young Raises $311,000 in Second Quarter

Republican Congressman Todd Young of Indiana has raised $311,000 in the second quarter, according to a report his campaign will file with the Federal Election Commission later this week.

The new report means the freshman lawmaker has more than $893,000 in cash on hand for his re-election bid against Democrat Shelli Yoder. Since winning office in 2010, Young has become a solid fundraiser who has touted a strong conservative message.

"If you look at our numbers over 80 percent of our contributions are coming from individuals and over 80 percent of that are coming from Indiana," says Young campaign manager Trevor Foughty. "What we think that shows is we really have tapped into the pulse of the district and people are buying into our message. It's the private sector and its individual Americans that are going to lead our way out of this recession. It's not a trust in government to spend our way out."

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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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