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Richard Kelly (July 31, 1924 – August 22, 2005) was an American politician from Florida. He was a Republican convicted of taking bribes in the 1980 Abscam scandal.

Richard Kelly
Congressman Richard Kelly.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byBill Gunter
Succeeded byBill McCollum
Personal details
Born(1924-07-31)July 31, 1924
Atlanta, Georgia
DiedAugust 22, 2005(2005-08-22) (aged 81)
Stevensville, Montana
Political partyRepublican
  • (Unknown)
  • Loraine
  • Judy
  • Claire
  • Kelly
ChildrenLinda, John, Sherri
Alma materUniversity of Florida
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1942–1946

Early life and careerEdit

Kelly was born July 31, 1924, in Atlanta, Georgia, his mother abandoned him in an orphanage at an early age. He attended a one-room school in Crystal Springs. He lied about his age to serve in the United States Marine Corps from 1942 to 1946, attended colleges in Colorado and Tennessee and graduated from the Fredric G. Levin College of Law in Florida with a Juris Doctor in 1952. While in Colorado, he married for the first of five times. He was admitted to the Florida bar the same year and practiced in Zephyrhills. In 1953, he became city attorney of Zephyrhills and worked from 1956 to 1959 as senior assistant to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Kelly was appointed circuit judge of the sixth judicial circuit of Florida and served from 1960 to 1974, when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Republican.[1]

Abscam scandal and later lifeEdit

He served three terms in the House of Representatives, starting in 1971. He opposed Food Stamps, aid to failing Chrysler Corporation and troubled New York City.[1]

In 1980, Kelly was involved in the Abscam scandal and failed to win renomination, losing to Bill McCollum. He was convicted of taking $25,000 in bribes.[2] Kelly claimed he had conducted his own undercover operation and spent part of the money to maintain his cover, but was convicted and spent 13 months in federal prison.[2]

He served thirteen months of a 6- to 18-month sentence at the federal prison camp at Eglin Air Force Base he was released from a halfway house in 1986.

Kelly died August 22, 2005, in Stevensville, Montana after suffering for years with Pick's disease.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Groer, Anne (21 October 1985). "The Life And Times Of Richard Kelly -- Will It Sell?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Libit, Daniel (2009-05-08). "The lamest excuses ever". The Politico. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  3. ^ Morgan, Lucy (25 August 2005). "Representative convicted in Abscam dies". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 27 July 2016.

External linksEdit