| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Westmoreland native, former congressman Bailey banned from law for 5 years

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
staff photographer
A hearing committee of the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board has recommended that attorney Don Bailey, who once served as a congressman from Greensburg, be suspended from practicing law for five years. Tribune-Review file

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The state Supreme Court has ordered Greensburg native Don Bailey, a former Pennsylvania auditor general and U.S. congressman, to surrender his law license for five years.

The court on Wednesday ordered the suspension that was recommended in May by its Disciplinary Board.

Bailey violated the rules of professional conduct by making false statements critical of federal judges in Pennsylvania, the court said.

Although the Supreme Court ruling came in a three-sentence order, the Disciplinary Board's 19-page recommendation attached to the order sharply criticized Bailey, who lives in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County.

“(Bailey) fails to accept adverse judicial decisions by an objective review of the facts or the law. He simply concludes that such decisions are a result of a conspiracy against him or his clients,” the disciplinary board said.

“(Bailey) has not expressed regret or remorse for any statements that he made,” the board noted.

In a separate 2009 case, Bailey, who practiced in Harrisburg, was ordered to pay nearly $50,000 in fees and costs for making unfounded claims of judicial misconduct.

Bailey, 68, served as auditor general from 1985 to 1989. He served as congressman from 1979 until 1983, representing a Western Pennsylvania district eliminated in redistricting.

Bailey could not be reached for comment.

The Disciplinary Board filed a petition to discipline him in January 2011, saying Bailey falsely accused several federal judges of conspiring to ruin his legal career.

Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney cannot raise an issue that has no basis in fact or the law and cannot criticize the qualifications or integrity of a judge by making knowingly false and reckless comments.

Bailey claimed six federal judges conspired to dismiss lawsuits Bailey filed on behalf of clients because of unknown political motives, according to the Disciplinary Board.

Bailey was required to pay more than $47,000 in legal fees, sanctions and fines for filing an appeal in one lawsuit that was determined to be frivolous. The sanctions were imposed by two federal judges impugned by Bailey.

The board said Bailey tried to derail the disciplinary investigation into his professional misconduct by seeking an injunction against Paul Killion, chief disciplinary counsel for the Disciplinary Board, in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. That case was dismissed.

In 2007, a federal magistrate recommended that Bailey be sanctioned for misconduct, writing he “has sadly slouched into a parody of the man he once was.”

Bailey. a graduate of Greensburg Salem High School, was a football star at the University of Michigan.

The Vietnam War veteran served as an officer with the 101st Air Mobile Division, earning a Silver Star for gallantry and three Bronze Stars. He received his law degree from Duquesne University.

His political career began in Westmoreland County in 1979 when he was elected to Congress. After two terms, redistricting pitted him in 1982 against the late John Murtha of Johnstown, who won the Democrat nomination in the primary against Bailey.

Bailey was elected auditor general in 1988 but was defeated for re-election by Barbara Hafer. Bailey began practicing law in Harrisburg, billing himself as a civil rights attorney. He ran against Arlen Specter for the U.S. Senate in 1986 and campaigned for governor in 1998.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Motorcyclist injured in Sewickley Township
  2. Red Onion reunion possibly the last for Hempfield coal mining village
  3. Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond
  4. Judge denies former New Alexandria tree trimmer another chance
  5. Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
  6. Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released
  7. Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
  8. Ligonier Valley YMCA project in public phase
  9. Westmoreland torture-slaying convict Smyrnes says death row isolation too cruel
  10. Derry man gets 19-year prison sentence for recording sex assaults of girl
  11. Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival