In a recent sting, a member of the House of Representatives was busted when he attempted to buy cocaine from an undercover officer. Representative Trey Radel (R-FL 19th District) was arrested on October 29th and charged today for misdemeanor cocaine possession in Washington D.C.
Some reports say that this was a classic sting where the dealer was busted and gave information to authorities that ended up with the arrest of Rep. Radel. If that is indeed the case, this wasn’t his first time attempting to buy cocaine from this particular dealer.
From CBS News:
He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, a GOP leadership aide confirmed to CBS News, adding the news came as a shock. The charge threatens a maximum of 180 days of imprisonment in addition to a possible fine up to $1,000.
Somewhat ironically, Radel is the cosponsor of H.R. 1695, Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which would give judges more flexibility on sentencing in cases involving mandatory minimums. He’s also gone on record as citing his favorite vacation spot as Cartagena, Colombia, which as of 2004 accounted for 80 percent of the world’s cocaine production.
He released this statement today in response to his arrest:
“I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”
“However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.”
I feel bad for him as anybody suffering from an addiction has a hell of a demon to fight. That said, he was just elected in 2012 which calls into question whether he was using prior to his winning office. We often see politicians stipulating drug tests for people receiving government assistance. Should we now ask for drug tests for candidates for office as well? They receive government money in the form of a salary, travel vouchers, staff salaries, and other benefits. I think it’s only fair that a policy that’s considered “fair” and “prudent” for some Americans should also cover those who wish to pass said policy.
I wish him well on his road to recovery, but his arrest and potential conviction does beg the question “what will happen to his status in Congress as a result of a drug conviction and possible prison time?” If the Speaker of the House’s statement today is of any clue, Rep. Radel will likely return to Congress and continue on his path as though this never happened. Speaker Boehner released a statement that said, “Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents.”
My question to the speaker would be, after the courts handle their thing, what will Congress do to address those “highest standards”? The common everyday guy fights tooth and nail to get a basic job with a drug conviction with many employers refusing to hire them. Why should Congress be any different? It will be interesting to see how this one turns out, and I’m sure that many people will be watching based on the approval ratings of Congress. I don’t know if this will affect that rating because it’s already as low as testicles hanging from an ant. There’s not much left that can be damaged at this point.
- Tea party Rep. Trey Radel busted for cocaine possession (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Rep. Trey Radel charged with cocaine possession (usatoday.com)
- “Hip Hop Conservative” Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) Busted for Cocaine. (politicalticks.wordpress.com)
- Congressman charged with cocaine possession (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)