Rep. Rick Crawford: Dems’ latest defector
Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public 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:
James Ricky Crawford (D-Cedartown)
District 16 (Polk and Floyd Counties)
Sept. 26, 2012 — Rick Crawford was just nominated to serve another two-year term as a Democrat, but he says he’s switching to the Republican Party if he wins re-election in November.
Crawford, who had been pondering his party affiliation for a while, said Democrats’ endorsement of same-sex marriage pushed him over the edge. “I thought, ‘My time here is done,'” he said.
But his conversion is “not just a one-issue thing,” Crawford said. “My profile and my thinking of the way things ought to go was just not something that [Democrats] would ever entertain again.”
Crawford’s timing precluded Democrats from fielding another nominee in 2012, but he said there was no political calculation to his decision. “I’ve had strong Republican crossover [support] from the time when I first ran,” he said.
Crawford closed his law practice last year to become a poli sci professor at Shorter University, the Georgia Baptist-affiliated school where employees must promise not to use drugs or engage in pre-marital sex or homosexuality.
As a lawyer, Crawford worked on occasion as a special assistant attorney general before running for the General Assembly. Financial records suggest that he was a very special attorney for the state Department of Transportation, collecting $9.3 million in payments from 2000 through 2005.
Crawford said, though, those payments came to him as the closing attorney in hundreds of right-of-way acquisitions. He didn’t get to keep the money but disbursed it according to the terms of the sales contracts.
“I wish it had been personal payment,” he joked. “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it was.”
- As a college student, worked for two sessions in the House Clerk’s office and one session for then-Speaker Tom Murphy.
Collected 42.6 percent of the vote in a losing 2004 campaign for Congress against Phil Gingrey.
- Elected to the Georgia House, 2006, with 53 percent of the vote.
- Re-elected 2008 by 182-vote margin over Republican challenger Bob Culver.
- Re-elected 2010 without opposition.
- Defeated 2012 for re-election with just 31 percent of the vote.
- Code Revision (2007 – 2012)
- Intragovernmental Coordination (2007 – 2012)
- Judiciary (2009 – 2012)
- State Planning & Community Affairs (2007 – 2012)
- Assistant professor of political science, Shorter University
- Operated a law practice, James R. Crawford, P.C., which he closed in 2011.
Business ownership interests
- James R. Crawford, P.C.
- President, James R. Crawford, P.C.
- Community Bank of Rockmart
- LeGrand Family Limited Partnership (interest is owned by spouse and dependent children)
- Regions Financial Corp.
- Southern Co.
- SunTrust Banks
- various mutual funds
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence on 4.7 acres in Rockmart, valued at $282,000
- Office in Rockmart valued at $127,000
- Condominium in Panama City Beach, Fla.
The state Department of Transportation paid Crawford’s law firm more than $9.3 million from 2000 through 2006, according to state records that I squirreled away years ago. He says he disbursed most of that money to property owners as closing attorney for the DOT’s right-of-way acquisitions. Attorney General Thurbert Baker’s office paid the firm an additional $316,000 in that period. Total payments by fiscal year:
- 2000: $1,120,198
- 2001: $3,686,698
- 2002: $1,594,504
- 2003: $86,720
- 2004: $363,185
- 2005: $2,784,199
Crawford raised $225,000 for a 2004 run for Congress, but barely half that much in four subsequent campaigns for the Georgia Legislature.
- 2003-04: $225,754
- 2005-06: $36,857
- 2007-08: $47,875
- 2009-10: $20,125
- 2011-12: $10,150
Top donors to legislative campaign
- $8,000 Miles L. Gammage
- $7,000 Charles Pinkard & other associates of Piedmont Furniture Co., Rockmart
- $6,000 Chandler, Britt, Jay & Beck LLC and associated attorneys
$5,500 Robert K. Finnell, attorney
- $5,300 Workplace Injury Network PAC
- $4,550 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Civil Justice PAC)
- $4,400 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- $4,000 Ex-state Rep. Bill Cummings
- $4,000 Polk County Democratic Committee
- $3,500 Communications Workers of America
Top donors to 2004 congressional campaign
- $10,000 AmeriPAC
- $10,000 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- $10,000 International Brotherhood of Teamsters Chauffeurs
- $10,000 United Auto Workers
- $7,500 Communications Workers of America
- $6,500 attorneys at Crim & Bassler
- $6,000 House Majority Fund
- $6,000 Charles & Barbara Pinkard
- $5,000 Machinists Non-Partisan Political League
- $5,000 American Federation of Teachers
- $5,000 attorneys at Chandler & Britt LLC
- $5,000 United Food & Commercial Workers
- $5,000 United Steelworkers of America
- Crawford also loaned his congressional campaign $54,400. It repaid $8,400 him before closing its books.
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. Crawford’s committee made these political donations:
- 2005-06: $2,200
- 2007-08: $1,500
- 2009-10: $4,000
- 2011-12: $1,000
Lobbyist gifts (reported value)
- 2007: $100
- 2008: $180
- 2009: $147
- 2010: $55
- 2011: $263
- 2012: $44
Per diem & travel expenses (committee days)
When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for attending a committee meeting or conducting 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.
- 2007: $3,684 (16 days)
- 2008: $856 (4 days)
- 2009: $3,895 (17 days)
- 2010: $2,465 (11 days)
- 2011: $1,318 (6 days)
- $692 (3 days)
Updated Feb. 9, 2013