Senator Patrick Leahy comments on Bailey “shit storm” in October, 2003 hearings on Santorum-supported appointment of former AG Mike Fisher to Third Circuit Court of Appeals

Thanks to one of our readers, we have located the public comments of Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate proceedings that led to former Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher’s appointment to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2003.

Earlier that year, Fisher, who failed in a gubernatorial bid to Ed Rendell in 2002, had been found to be a civil rights violator in a lawsuit filed by Don Bailey on behalf of two former attorney general narcotics agents in Philadelphia.  We discussed this story at greater length in our Bailey “shit storm” article.

Central to that article was the appointment of former Attorney General Mike Fisher to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals right after the verdict.  In a recent comment, one of our readers linked us to comments that Senator Patrick Leahy made for the record of the Fisher nomination proceedings.  Senator Leahy discussed some questionable Republican procedural maneuverings, and commented specifically on the nomination of Fisher as follows:

 The hearing on the nomination of Michael Fisher to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is also unprecedented. Never before to my knowledge has a President nominated to a lifetime position on a federal circuit court or this Committee held a hearing on a judicial nominee with an outstanding jury verdict naming him as personally liable for civil rights violations. In February 2003, a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania found that Mr. Fisher and other high level officials of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General violated the civil rights of two plaintiffs, former narcotics agents with the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) in Philadelphia. Never before in the history of federal judicial nominees of which I am aware, has a nominee ever come before this Committee with an outstanding judgment against him for so serious a claim.

The jury verdict is so recent that the trial transcript has only been delivered to the parties within the last several weeks, and so complex that even Mr. Fisher and his lawyers have asked for extensions of time in order to complete their post-trial motions. Soon a federal district court trial judge will be called upon to review the verdict against a person the President has nominated to the Court of Appeals that review all appeals from that trial judge’s court. In addition, if the jury verdict is sustained by the trial court, an appeal would lie to the very court to which Mr. Fisher has been nominated. These, too, appear to be unique circumstances.

Accordingly, this is a most unusual proceeding. As the Administration and Republican majority have abandoned traditional practices and standards we are being confronted with more and more difficulties. The few judicial nominations on which the Senate has withheld a final vote this year have each presented extraordinary circumstances or nominees with extreme positions. During the years in which President Clinton was in the White House, Republicans attempted a number of filibusters and, when they were in the majority, successfully prevented votes on more than 60 judicial nominees, including a number of nominees to the federal courts in Pennsylvania.

This is an unqualified, reputable source to confirm the exact position taken in our shit storm article.  Read the full text of Senator Leahy’s comments here.

Rick Santorum was one of Pennsylvania’s Senators, and was a sponsor of Fisher’s nomination.  Santorum also sponsored the nominations of Judges Kane, Conner, and Jones.  Don Bailey has recently announced that he is running for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and Judge Kane has just dusted off an old disciplinary action she’s been sitting on, waiting to see what the state disciplinary authorities do, and has pushed it forward with urgency due to a bogus assertion that Bailey is unreasonably delaying the state disciplinary proceedings – she has no regard for the blatant denial of his due process rights, let alone the innocent American citizens he represents.  She refuses to open the disciplinary proceedings, despite Bailey’s demands.  We will bring it all to you here.

Penn State graduate Rick Santorum is returning to Pennsylvania on April 24, 2012, to run in the Pennsylvania primary for President of the United States.  Objections to Bailey’s nomination petitions have been filed by a Pittsburgh law firm on behalf of some objectors, one of whom is a Penn State employee, Sean Miller, who is in the charitable funding department of Penn State.  The objectors were solicited by the attorneys.  Santorum also nominated Jerry Sandusky for a “congressional angel” award in 2002, the same year Sandusky was observed in the Penn State showers with a young boy.  See Penn State/Good old boy’s network article.

The objections have been assigned to a Commonwealth Court Judge who is a former Kirkpatrick and Lockhart attorney – Santorum is a former Kirkpatrick and Lockhart attorney, as is former United States Attorney and Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh.   Don Bailey could not be bought off when, as Pennsylvania Auditor general, Bailey accused Thornburgh and federal authorities with public corruption.

Since losing his re-election bid in 2006, Santorum has been an attorney with Eckert, Seamans, Leroy Zimmerman’s firm, and the firm with connections to the disciplinary authorities through the Eckert Seamans partner with whom Judge Yvette Kane has a personal relationship where she has reported  tens of thousands of dollars in gifts.  Leroy Zimmerman was Pennsylvania’s fist elected attorney general.  The Commonwealth Court Judge who just threw out the Centralia, Pennsylvania state lawsuit, Judge Bernard McGinley, is the son of Judge Kane’s lawyer friend, as also explained in the Eckert post.

Don Bailey’s cases were discussed during the confirmation hearings of former Third Circuit Judge and now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito as well, and we have pointed out the markedly anti-whistleblower stance of this Supreme Court.  Whistleblower cases are quintessentially about public corruption, and are the thrust of Bailey’s constitutional law enforcement practice.  Justice Alito has already acted on a matter in the Bailey disciplinary  case.

Marty Carlson has continued to try to portray Don Bailey as imagining grand conspiracies that involve countless people over numerous years, through his shameless attempts to use the courts to carry out the politics of personal destruction.  We understand that Marty Carlson is involved in accusations against this site for some kind of fraudulent activity.

Senator Leahy raised a very reasonable and obvious concern, and clearly stated the issue almost a decade ago.  Barbara Hafer sent a written apology to Don Bailey for spreading lies about him in a statewide campaign in the year 2000.  Marty Carlson is one of the liars she references.  Most of what we’re talking about in this site happened in this time-frame, and does involve many people, many who have been identified by name, and does extend into four decades of Pennsylvania politics.  That is what qualifies Don Bailey to be Attorney General.

This is a very short article with statements of fact.  There is no hyperbole, and no argument.  The implications speak for themselves.  Calls have gone out to Senators Casey and Toomey as well.

We still have not located the “shit storm memo”, but it was received by Don Bailey anonymously, and it was received through the attorney general’s office.   Efforts continue, but the shit storm speaks for itself.

Vote Don Bailey for Attorney General.

Thank you.

Author Bill Keisling covers the history of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – 1950-1980 – the appointed years excerpted here

In what he calls part 3 in of his essay on Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Governor Tom Corbett, author Bill Kiesling has pubished a very thoroughly researched, and engagingly written history of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – the appointed years.  The essay is a chronology of the history of interrelationship between governors and attorneys general over the years, and the following excerpt covers the short period in the Shapp administration that immediately preceded the constitutional amendment making it an elected office.

Bill’s essay provides a great historical perspective as we begin to cover the 2012 election for attorney general, and is useful to anyone interested in the office.  You can see the full article here.

Calamitous Shapp years bring an end to the appointed AG

After Fred Speaker’s tenure, a true calamity would befall the appointed office of Pennsylvania Attorney General. The calamity was arguably a man named Milton Shapp.

Milton Shapp served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1979. He was a self-made millionaire who made his money as a pioneer in the cable television business. Cutting corners in the cable business in Philadelphia made Shapp his fortune, but it turned out to be a bad idea for government. Shapp was a bright man whose heart was in the right place. But he was a terrible judge of horse flesh. Many of his appointments were bad. Some were outright criminals. His administration would be riddled with corruption.

Right from the gate, as he was sworn into office, Shapp sought major changes in the role of the state office of attorney general. Gov. Shapp’s appointment of J. Shane Creamer as his attorney general, Shapp wrote, was meant to change the sleepy and amiable state Justice Department into a “Public Interest Law Firm.”   The state AG would no longer be just “The Governor’s Lawyer.”

“We will be aggressive in our attempts to move constructive forces for positive social change,” AG Creamer announced at his appointment in 1971.

One of the biggest yet not-so-noticed changes under AG Creamer would be that the attorney general’s office would physically relocate from its close proximity to the governor in the governor’s suite in the main capitol building to a separate building next to the rotunda on the capitol grounds.

The AG no longer would be close to the governor’s side, hour-by-hour, day-by-day.

Former AG Sennett recalls that he ran into AG Creamer shortly after the latter moved his office and staff to their own building outside the governor’s office.

“I asked Shane why he’d moved the office,” Sennett recounts, “and didn’t he miss no longer being in the thick of things?”

“I have a different sort of relationship to this guy,” he says AG Creamer said of Gov. Shapp.

AG Creamer, in fact, wouldn’t last long.

Despite Shapp’s good intentions, under his administration the state attorney general’s office quickly got bigger and, by most accounts, far worse, and far more political.

Ever-growing and outrageous corruption, and what was increasingly seen as Gov. Shapp’s blatant political misuse of the office of attorney general to cover up these misdeeds, would by the end of his terms spell the demise of the appointed state attorney general, and would directly lead to the elective office of AG that plagues Pennsylvania today.

* * *

Thank you.

Murphy proves he is not fit to be attorney general – goes after Bailey’s family in attempt to extort him to quit AG race

In a bold and reckless attempt to coerce Don Bailey to give up his bid for attorney general, Patrick Murphy threatened to go after Bailey’s family for some sort of bogus allegations of fraud in the circulation of Bailey’s nominating petitions.  The allegations were nothing but bald-faced threats, and were completely baseless, and have not been followed through upon.  In pulling such a dirty political trick, Patrick Murphy has conclusively shown that he lacks the discretion and judgment to be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general.

While this site has endorsed the candidacy of Don Bailey, this article cannot be mistaken as a mere opportunist counter-attack.  It just so happens that the core of everything that this site and the record of Mr. Bailey stand for are summarized as opposition to the abuse of power for political purposes.  Nothing can more offend that principle than a threat by an aspirant for the position of highest law enforcement office of this Commonwealth to engineer a political result by suggestions that family members of candidates will be gone after.  This is extortionist conduct.  The declaration Bailey filed with the election commission follows:

Bailey Election Affidavit

Perhaps reeling from his last-place finish in the Westmoreland County endorsement contest, and his concern that he had no more corner on the veteran vote, with a real war hero, and decorated veteran in the race, to counter his service which, while honorable, was served in the JAG corps as a lawyer, not out in the bush leading troops, fighting for his country, and saving lives, Murphy turned to an act of desperation in attacking the family of, of all people, Don Bailey.  There was no debate, there were no exchanges of views, there was nothing more than meeting in Greensburg, and coming in last that prompted Murphy’s attack.  Why?  Who did Murphy take his leads from?

Murphy’s campaign website boasts that he has “dedicated his life to protecting Pennsylvania families, ” yet he is going right after the family of one of his opponents, not caring if it was a wife or a daughter, and then not explaining himself when respectfully asked to – allowing the threat and concern to linger over Bailey’s family.  At the very least, and this is being favorable, Murphy’s shenanigan demonstrates a serious lack of discretion and judgment – the fact alone that a candidate for attorney general can contemplate engaging in such conduct is a categorical disqualifier, in the view of this site.  Mr. Murphy is called upon to quit the race.

Why is Patrick Murphy, a 38 year-old lawyer who doesn’t try cases in Pennsylvania courts, and was admitted on another state’s bar exam, running for attorney general?  What experience does he bring that qualifies him to stand for any of the issues that face Pennsylvanians legal rights?  This action by Murphy suggests that he is running on raw ambition alone, with reports having it that he wants to be the next Democratic Governor, with the endorsement of Ed Rendell himself behind him, and has even higher ambitions along the lines of another famous Irish Catholic politician.

The Office of Attorney General, particularly in these times, is not something that should be viewed as a mere stepping stone on the path of a brighter political career.  Pennsylvanians have been stepped on by their politicians long enough, and they need an attorney general with his finger on the pulse of the problems that are affecting our daily lives, and not his eye on the next political prize.  Patrick Murphy decidedly does not have the qualifications to be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general.

We have learned that Murphy has filed a separate challenge to Bailey’s petitions.  Absent from the challenge is any mention of the threats against Bailey’s family, the only proper place any such issues should be raised.  We understand that Murphy hired a firm to undertake some kind of separate review of the election petitions, and are raising some technical challenges to the petitions, which is no surprise.  We understand that the challenge documents by Murphy’s supporters that have been filed, on their face contain demonstrably false information.  We expect this matter will proceed into the courts, but clearly view anything coming out of the campaign of Patrick Murphy with suspicion, as should the courts.

Thank you.

Pennsylvania needs a prosecutor AND a politician (a strong political leader) – Don Bailey clearly most qualified candidate for attorney general

The campaign slogan of candidate Kathleen Kane is “we need a prosecutor, not a politician” as attorney general.  We disagree.  We need both.  Of course we need strong law enforcement and tough prosecutors for the protection of the public and vigorous enforcement of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth, but we also need a strong and trusted political leader with proven integrity, and Don Bailey is best qualified by far to serve both roles.

The systemic issues that have corrupted Pennsylvania politics need extensive political reform.  There need to be calls for investigations into, and oversight of, the courts and their control over attorneys, and to the conditions that have allowed whistleblowers to be scuttled, and cronyism to flourish.  There may even need to be a call for a constitutional convention to address some of the problems endemic to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

We need a seasoned politician – a professional who knows how to work within the constitutional political process – to take these issues to the executive and the legislature, and to work in cooperation with federal authorities as well, and to be prepared to go toe-to-toe with the courts over attorney discipline and judicial discipline issues.

Don Bailey has served on both the federal and statewide levels in the past in politically-elected positions, i.e., positions in which he was responsive only to the people who elected him, and he served honorably, and always in the interest of his constituents.  Handwritten thank you notes from, and photographs of Don with, Presidents, commendations from his past service, both as a public servant and as an actually decorated combat veteran, adorn the walls of his office, and Don has stayed closely connected to the political process, though as an outsider, through his civil rights practice.

Don’s story – his experience that qualifies him to be attorney general – began when he was an elected official, and has continued in an unbroken chain through the present.  Only he has the political experience to tackle the problems that confront us as Pennsylvanians.

The Office of Attorney General has only been an elected office in Pennsylvania since 1981, and it has never been won by a Democrat.  The Republican party for some reason has seemed to garner the “tough on crime” image – it may be nothing more than that – Democrats are prosecutors in district attorneys’ offices all over the state.  The tactic is to make that portrayal, and to discuss toughness on crimes against children and the elderly.  These crimes no doubt are major areas of legitimate concern, but their use in the context of elections to the office are more of a scare tactic that serve only to distract from the real issues that should be high on the next attorney general’s agenda.

The prosecutor not a politician with tough on child and elder crime message is a co-opting of what has already been a successful formula for the Republican candidates, and a general election on that turf would be a contest as to whom can spend more money trying to get that message across, a contest that clearly favors Mr. Freed.

Every Pennsylvanian should be able to be assured that protection of children and the elderly is of the highest ongoing priorities of the criminal enforcement division of the Office of Attorney General, and that should never depend on the politics of the office-holder.  The importance of that commitment is even greater as access to the vulnerable is easier as technology advances, and, again, should be universally recognized.  It is fair to assure prospective voters of the priority, and the commitment to it.  It is artificial to make it the primary issue in a campaign, as, of course, it appeals to all our senses of safety and security, like a commercial advertisement, and distracts from the other issues that have affected the condition of government in Pennsylvania.

The real harm to children in this state through its highest-profile-ever child sex prosecution was not the result of the alleged acts of one man.  Grievous harm to numerous children was allowed to happen because of the “good old boys’ network” need to protect an institution, by using its lawyers and the courts.  Jerry Sandusky, of course, needs to be prosecuted and convicted if he is proven to have done what has been alleged, and Kathleen Kane could probably be counted on to do as good a job as any prosecutor in bringing him to justice, but which candidate, Kane, Bailey, Murphy, or Freed, will look into the institutional heart of the matter to the decisions that were made that allowed this case to become a sordid 10-year tale of cover-ups and abuses.  Bailey is the only one, and his record shows it abundantly.

Don Bailey’s political history is one of not turning a blind eye or giving in to the “business as usual” ways of Pennsylvania politics.  He stood in the way of a joint state and federal coercive effort to have him do so, and was smeared in a re-election campaign, and had his political future taken from him for doing so.

Don may be the only politician in American history to have won a defamation case arising out of statements made against him by his political opponent during an election contest.  The September 8, 2000 letter of apology he received from former Auditor General Barbara Hafer cites false information she received from certain federal officials as the basis of her smear.  One of those “federal officials” is Marty Carlson, former U.S. Attorney, and current U.S. Magistrate Judge, and author of the April fool’s day 2010 false smear against Don Bailey circulated throughout the state that was intended to be the last nail in Bailey’s professional coffin.  Carlson is a Penn State graduate, and Penn State has been protected by the good old boys’ network, including the courts, for years.

Pat Murphy has never tried a case in Pennsylvania courts according to reports, Kane as an assistant prosecutor likely has an acculturated and protective view of “the system”, as reflected through her reported commitment to keep on all the current staff of the AG’s office.  Dave Freed is endorsed by the primary focus of the initial investigation, governor Tom Corbett, and Freed’s father-in-law, Leroy Zimmerman, is also a major fundraising Republican operative, and was the first in the unbroken chain of Republican Attorneys general, elected in 1981.

Bailey was Auditor General while Zimmerman was Attorney General.  Zimmerman stepped down as Chairman of the Board of the Hershey School for Boys in November, 2011, one week before his son-in-law announced his candidacy.  Questions of improprieties in the Hershey Trust have flown under the radar of past Republican Attorneys General.  Zimmerman’s firm, Eckert, Seamans, also has close ties right into the state and federal federal courts, and the disciplinary authorities.  Linda Kelly does not appear to have any of these matters on her agenda.

The next Attorney General needs to understand the entire climate in which these things occur in order to have any chance of effecting any real institutional change, and Don Bailey has been at the heart of the efforts to expose it and change it for 20 years.  Kane has talked of “public corruption”, and the prosecutions of Jim Dewees, Mike Veon, and others serve some valuable public integrity purposes to be sure, but they are treating a symptom, and nobody but Bailey is addressing the problem.

The candidates for the office sell the “criminal prosecutor” aspect of the job, which, again, is an important part of the position, and one that will be a part of Bailey’s administration, to be sure, but the Attorney General is more than a prosecutor, he or she is the chief “law enforcement” officer of the Commonwealth, and Don Bailey’s practice as a civil rights lawyer for years, which could as easily be known as “constitutional law enforcement”, and offers a unique law enforcement background, that, with his hands-on experience, qualifies Don alone as the proper person for the job.

Don’s practice has centered on bringing cases under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which is quintessentially a constitutional law enforcement statute – it protects individual citizens from intrusions into their rights “under color of law”, i.e., by government officials.  There are criminal civil rights statutes as well.  One of the biggest problems in our state is corruption in our courts and high-level public offices, the state police, and other government institutions.  Government criminal prosecutors are beholden, and become acculturated, to deferring to these entities, understandably and by necessity, to some extent, but it creates a loyalty to the heart of the problem.

A constitutional law enforcement lawyer, on the other hand, particularly the kind of cases and law that Don typically deals with, is really a very important law enforcement function – it is policing the police, and the government, through civil cases prosecuted by individual citizens against public officials for violations of their rights under the constitution, and Don has a prolific record of successfully performing this law enforcement function over the years, and is the very reason the courts themselves are trying to stop him.

The other candidates have not even mentioned things like investigating Penn State administrators, or even Corbett, for what they knew, and the harm that was caused by trying to cover the whole thing up – the evidence of something nefarious cannot be denied – and they may not talk about it at all during their campaigns because they likely do not know how it all really works.  These are the types of things that Don deals with routinely, and, in the Penn State case, this would have been the most effective way to protect children, and needs to be done now to do so in the future.

What is the next attorney general going to do about the Centralia, Pennsylvania situation, which will involve investigations going back decades, through all the Republican law enforcement administrations, or the Kimmet case involving fraudulent debt collection practices right out of the current attorney general’s office, or the myriad other public corruption cases where the attorney general’s civil division is representing state police officials, executive office holders, and all other manner of constitutional law enforcement cases?  They will likely not be addressed if the next attorney general is committed to the same staff, and certainly if not beholden to the same party and the same executive.  They are issues that must be addressed, and Don Bailey has proven that he has the courage to do so, and is beholden to no one, except the people who should put him into office.

When Don Bailey won a verdict on behalf of two dedicated narcotics enforcement officers from the attorney general’s office against then-attorney general Mike Fisher, who was rewarded with a seat on the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a memo circulated that Bailey had caused a “shit storm”.  If not before, that was the time that they knew that Bailey must be stopped, because the real shit storm that “they” have always wanted to avoid is one that could be created by an elected law enforcement official that is not beholden to the gold old boys’ network, and to business as usual in Pennsylvania.  A shit storm could be just the cleansing Pennsylvania needs.

Thank you.