Former congressman Pat Swindall, a Republican trailblazer in Georgia before his political career was derailed by a perjury conviction, has died at age 67.
Swindall died Wednesday. His former campaign manager and chief of staff, Robb Austin, confirmed his death Thursday to The Associated Press. No cause of death was given.
A Republican from Atlanta’s eastern suburbs, Swindall served two terms in Congress from 1985 to 1989, at a time when Georgia’s political landscape was dominated by Democrats.
When Swindall was elected to Congress in 1984, beating five-term Democratic incumbent Elliott Levitas, Newt Gingrich was the only other Georgia Republican serving in the U.S. House.
“He was a forever young candidate,” Austin said. “He was youthful, he was smart, he was dynamic.”
But Swindall’s political career crumbled in 1988 under the cloud of an indictment charging the congressman with perjury. He was accused of lying to a federal grand jury about a loan for construction on his luxury Stone Mountain home he negotiated with an undercover agent posing as a drug-money launderer.
The scandal caused Swindall to lose his seat in 1988 to Democrat Ben Jones, who played the character Cooter on the TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Swindall was then convicted in 1989.
After serving a 12-month sentence, Swindall went into commercial real-estate and hosted a radio program about the intersection of politics and religion.
At the time of his death, Swindall was working on a book blaming the perjury case against him on a “sting and cover up,” according to an obituary posted by Crowell Brothers Funeral Home.
Swindall was born in Gadsden, Alabama, and attended college and law school at the University of Georgia. He lived in the Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek with his wife of 36 years. He also had seven grown children.