Cursing In Southwest Georgia.

An aide to Sanford Bishop left a voicemail containing profanity for a farmer he says cursed used a racial epithet about Bishop. Jamey Crozier threatened to prevent Edward Wilkins from obtaining Farm Service Agency funding. Audio of the phone call can be found here.

Crozier (Bishop’s aide) contends the message regarding federal Farm Service Agency funding was left after Wilkins made a slur against Bishop following a discussion in which Wilkins expressed his displeasure over Bishop’s vote favoring passage of federal health care reform. Wilkins denied making any such remark, which is alleged to have occurred at the Peanut Proud Festival in Blakely in late March.

According to a memo to Bishop that Crozier issued on March 27 — the day of the recorded phone message — Wilkins had been introduced to the congressman and told Bishop that he would not support his re-election bid because of his support of President Obama’s health care reform bill.

Crozier wrote to Bishop: “As your conversation concluded … you proceeded to the town square, Mr. Wilkins turned and said ‘f*** that G****** n*****.'”

Crozier added that he thought that Wilkins was “clearly trying to rile me up” and that he didn’t want to “ruin” Bishop’s day by informing him of Wilkins’ alleged comment. Crozier said he had three witnesses who also heard Wilkins.

“No, I did not say that, and I have witnesses to back me up, too,” Wilkins said. “These are tough times for farmers, and the only option many have is to go through Jamey and Bishop’s office for help with the FSA money.

“He (Crozier) had no right to leave me a voice mail like that. And I think he was trying to send a message to all farmers that don’t support Sanford Bishop.”

FSA money is Farm Service Agency loans which are issued to farmers when traditional lending is unavailable or they have been turned down by a bank for a loan. The cap is $300,000 yearly. An FSA loan can be the lifeblood of many rural farmers.

Crozier readily admitted leaving the coarse message.

“About four hours after the event was over, I took it upon myself to address Mr. Wilkins’ comments in the form of leaving him a voice mail on my personal phone,” he wrote in the memo to Bishop. “I should not have taken this into my own hands, but I should have reported the racial slur to proper authorities. And, for that, I am sorry and take full responsibility for my actions.

“On the same note, I do not apologize to Mr. Wilkins because I heard exactly what he said to my boss and friend.”

Sanford Bishop faces Mike Keown this fall in the 2nd Congressional district race.

15 comments

  1. jeff says:

    This is par for the course for Bishop. I love how he covered his rear by having Crozier write a memo explaining the event and taking all the blame away from Bishop. I love how Crozier explained he used his “personal” phone to make the call and not his congressional aide phone paid for by taxpayers. Crozier and Bishop state that Bishop didn’t hear the insults from the farmer but if you listen to the voicemail, Crozier says “My boss heard what you said”. According to Bishop, Crozier was reprimanded and nothing else will be done. He should be fired but I am sure he was reprimanded because he did what Bishop asked him to do and will take the heat for him.

    Bishop has lost the support of farmers in SWGA and it is getting to him. He and his staff have been very rude to any SWGA resident who has expressed displeasure about his votes. I would beat the farmer simply told Bishop he shouldn’t have voted for healthcare reform. This probably angered Bishop and he had Crozier call to tell him not to apply for anymore farm loans. I would also be willing to beat that this isn’t the only person Bishop and his aides have tried to intimidate over the last few months. Bishop is feeling the squeeze. He is losing his grip on the district and it is getting to him.

  2. Mike Keown is a great candidate and our best shot at Bishop in a long time. He is raising good money and the NRCC has taken notice. In addition to Obamacare, Bishop voted for Cap and Trade also, a bill that will destroy family farms and raise food prices by passing along costs to the consumer. This is what has really pissed the Southwest Georgia farmers off and what may be the final nail in Sanford’s congressional coffin. Now, Sanford says if he had the chance to vote again on Cap and Trade, he would vote no. This is a sign that he is running scared.

    Also, does Georgia really want a Congressman that takes a whiz in a cup on a plane because he couldn’t hold it on an approach into Washington, DC?

  3. jeff says:

    Read this article – http://www.albanyherald.com/home/headlines/99133694.html

    Another example of a congressional aide doing something they shouldn’t without Sanford Bishop’s knowledge. Seems that Bishop’s press secretary was using tax payer money and his congressional office to campaign for Bishop. According to ethics rules, this is a no-no. But all is ok because Sanford Bishop had no knowledge of it. Sound familiar.

    Another article to read – http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2009/04/28/sanford-bishop-paid-25k-in-legal-fees-in-march/

    This was last year when Bishop’s step-daughter and son-in-law were getting paid for working with a program at the Muscogee County Marshall Office. The program that was being financed by an earmark of $200,000 from Bishop himself. The Marshall happens to be a close personal friend of Bishop and his wife. But once again Bishop had no idea that his kids were getting paid. By the way they were living in Atlanta, working full time in Atlanta but were getting paid for work in Columbus. A very quick investigation was done and the whole situation was silenced, never to be talked about again. According to GBI agent, Bishop was never interviewed and the case wasn’t about him. Bishop must have thought it was important however because if you check his FEC financial filings, the Bishop campaign paid $146,000 in legal fees to Greeenberg Traurig LLC from March 09 to May 10. Also if you check his 2010 personal financial disclosure filed with the Office of the Clerk you will find that he lists a personal liability 0f $250,001 – $500,000 to the very same Greenberg Traurig LLC. By the way the payments started just a couple of days after the investigation was quickly ended. So Bishop had no idea what was going on and the investigation wasn’t about him but he spent at least $396,000 in legal fees.

    This guy is crooked. He needs to be voted out.

  4. EverythingZenX21 says:

    Is this the way that we want our government handling constituents who aren’t voting for them come November??

  5. BoogDoc7 says:

    If you believe that you have to yell and scream and use profanity, you’ve failed at life.

    Period.

    Arguments aren’t won that way – they are only lost. There is no rational thought at that point. There is no reason – EVER – to conduct oneself in that manner.

  6. slyram says:

    I was having a cool morning until I read this in the paper. The first thing I thought was Jet Blue. If any R or D congressional staffer was in this situation, you got to feel for all involved—the next thing I thought was Jackie Robinson. I got called some of everything over the phone whenever an abortion or a gun matter was before the House but I was in D.C. To see concerned citizens face-to-face daily take a special kind of person. I can personally say that Bishop, Isakson and Chambliss field people have been cool to me.

    I bet Rep. Bishop topped off their “personnel talk” with “and finally, what’s with the blatant use of double negatives.”

  7. AubieTurtle says:

    People are people and I could understand if the staffer mouthed off right after the comments about Bishop were made (if they were made). But having a few minutes to cool down should have been enough for the staffer to return to being an adult and professional instead of some time after fact calling up and leaving a nasty voicemail. Even with that, what concerns me isn’t the swearing, it’s the threat to withhold a government service because the constituent doesn’t like the representative. To me, that’s the story right there.

    We’re not required to swear a loyalty oath to our representatives. No matter how big the ideology gap between the two, the representative is there to help and should do so. It’s not like the farmer was asking for Bishop to sponsor legislation or put behind the scenes pressure on someone to get special favors. He was simply trying to gain access to a government program that is in no way connected to the healthcare vote and doesn’t have a “no swearing” requirement.

    If the farmer said what he is alleged to a have said (and I’m sure he said something unkind even it wasn’t as strong as what it claimed by the staffer), good manners dictate that he apologize for letting his feelings get the best of him but that’s still no reason for him to be denied help accessing the loan program.

    It seems all to often our elected representatives and their staff forget that they are suppose to represent everyone in their district, not just those who voted for them. Obviously in matters of legislation, this can’t always be true but when it comes to helping with access to the government, it should be.

  8. slyram says:

    I think Jamey got a little too comfortable with the farmers. When you are a field representative, you know people from your previous life—most field reps already know the callers with problems with the federal government. To me, Jamey wasn’t cursing a stranger but talking with someone he knows in a way similar to their history—I bet they have sat on a tailgate and talked crops for hours. That was mistake but I feel a little better about the fact that Jamey didn’t say his office would block FSA money from the farmer. If you notice, he said don’t call their office for assist in solving casework problems with FSA. The farmer—no matter what he said or did not say- has the right to seek assist from FSA. The traditional role of the congressional office is to help in that process or provide information. The Anti-Defamation League provide reports to congressional office of radical activities in our states but if someone possibly involved called me regarding their gun ownership rights, they were heard and their questions answered.

    The young staffer could not believe that someone who receives assist in one regard could be some upset in another. That’s life and SDB would have handled it differently if he knew at the time. What trips me out is people getting so upset. As a Democrat, I had concerns with President Bush’s action in Iraq but respected the fact that the people elected him—he was doing the job he was elected to do. The people will speak in November but a certain amount of order and respect is need by all parties in a civil society.

    I saw SDB’s district director at a golf course and was talking with him like we were old friends but I had to remember that he functions in an important capacity these days. During the healthcare reform debate, I walk up to Senator Isakson at UGA Tifton and said that news just broke that someone was twisting a provision he introduced to provide end of life consulting into something call death panels. He was like “I got this…you know me.” He was right.

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