register for email updates
Rep. Jay Powell (HD 171)
The information on Atlanta Unfiltered is free to all — except me. Open records requests, research tools, car expenses, insurance, website maintenance – not to mention my time — all cost me money. Atlanta Unfiltered needs your financial support to continue following the money in Georgia politics. Someone’s gotta do it. Use the Donate button on this page to help me produce more articles like this one.
Leaders in the public sector have plenty of resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. Often the public record holds much more: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:
Alfred J. Powell Jr. (R-Camilla)
District 171 (Colquitt, Mitchell & Decatur counties)
State records show the state Department of Transportation wrote $691,500 in checks to Powell’s law firm in 2009, but he said they were never deposited in the firm’s account. Powell said his law partner, who has handled right-of-way acquisition for the DOT, endorsed the checks over to a new limited liability company created to continue that work rather than asking the state to reissue them. Powell said he had no affiliation with the new LLC.
- Served 12 years as mayor of Camilla, losing a 2007 bid for re-election by less than 100 votes
- Past president, Georgia Municipal Association (2007)
- Elected to the House in 2008, qualifying with no opposition after predecessor Richard Royal announced his retirement at the last minute.
- Re-elected with 60% of the vote in 2010 and 59% in 2012.
- Running for re-election in 2014 with no opposition.
- Appropriations (2010 – present; vice chairman for public safety, 2011 – present)
- Children & Youth (2009)
- Governmental Affairs (2009 – present)
- Judiciary (2009 – present)
- Rules (2013 – member)
- Ways and Means (2009 – present)
- Attorney, Powell & Erwin P.C.
- Former Recorder’s Court judge, city of Camilla, 1981-91.
Business ownership interests
- President/partner, Powell & Erwin, P.C.
- Limited partner, Camilla Retirement Home Ltd., personal care home
Other fiduciary positions
- Board member, Planter’s and Citizen’s Bank
- Board member, The Center for Housing Alternatives, non-profit helping to secure development grants for housing for the elderly and disabled
- Board member, Georgia Community Trust, non-profit helping families to plan for financial assistance for disabled family members
Other investment interests
- None disclosed
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Camilla valued at $125,000
- Office building in Camilla used in law practice valued at $166,000
- Half-interest in a vacant tracts totaling 66 acres in Mitchell County valued at $93,000
- Commercial buildings in Camilla valued at $52,000
- Single-family home in Camilla valued at $50,000
Payments from state agencies
- The state Department of Transportation wrote checks for $691,500 to Powell’s law firm, Powell & Erwin P.C., in 2009 for right-of-way acquisition along Interstate 75 in Clay and Randolph counties. Powell said none of the funds were deposited in the firm’s account. Powell said his law partner, Bill Erwin, worked on DOT right-of-way acquisition before Powell took his seat in the House but created a separate LLC so he could continue to do the work since then. Rather than asking DOT to reissue the 2009 checks, Erwin endorsed them over to his own LLC and distributed the proceeds as directed by DOT, Powell said.
Friends and family
- Powell’s wife, Deidra White, is running against Rep. Dexter Sharper for House District 177 in the 2016 general election.
Donors have given Powell’s campaign more than $186,000 since 2008. The breakdown by election cycle:
- 2008: $15,875
- 2009-10: $65,800
- 2011-12: $84,395
- 2013-14: $33,676
- 2015: $2,250
- Reported cash on hand (Feb. 2015): $32,399
- $29,800 Speaker David Ralston and other House Republicans
- $9,276 Ex-Rep. Richard Royal (Powell’s predecessor in the House)
- $8,900 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
- $5,750 Corrections Corporation of America
- $5,000 Lasseter Tractor Co., Moultrie, Ga.
- $4,000 Classic Insurance Co., Moultrie, Ga.
- $4,000 Patrick and Mark Mobley, owners of Mobley Gin Co.
- $3,350 Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals
- $2,750 Georgia Apartment Association
- $2,750 Troutman Sanders LLP
- $2,500 Associated General Contractors of Georgia
- $2,500 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia
Candidates may make political donations with campaign funds, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share their contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. Powell’s committee made these political donations:
- 2009-10: $4,150
- 2011-12: $16,250
- 2013-14: $34,859
Other campaign spending
- Powell reimbursed himself $5,201 from campaign funds in 2008 and 2009 for mileage & lodging without reporting the end recipient of the spending, as required by state disclosure rules.
- Since January 2013, Powell has spent $25,964 to rent an apartment year-round in Atlanta.
Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for Powell valued at more than $21,000 since 2008. The big spenders: Georgia Municipal Association ($2,558), University System of Georgia ($2,087), Georgia Chamber of Commerce ($1,155). BFF lobbyist: the University System’s Russell Keen ($2,073).
- 2008: $84
- 2009: $1,357
- 2010: $4,105
- 2011: $3,945
- 2012: $4,343
- 2013: $3,174
- 2014: $2,253
- 2015: $1,899 through May 31
Committee days & travel expenses
When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for committee meetings or other official business. Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging. Here’s the annual breakdown, based on the year in which the expenses were paid:
- 2009: $4,473 (18 days)
- 2010: $4,510 (20 days)
- 2011: $11,836 (44 days) #12 in House
- 2012: $7,068 (24 days)
- 2013: $9,705 (34 days)
- 2014: $5,039 (17 days)
Posted Feb. 6, 2013; last updated June 22, 2015