Radel Faces Ethics Inquiry After Drug Bust

Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) speaks during a press conference, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Billy House
Dec. 16, 2013, 11:47 a.m.

Con­gres­sion­al eth­ics watch­dogs have de­cided to in­vest­ig­ate wheth­er the House should hand down its own pun­ish­ment to Rep. Trey Radel for his mis­de­mean­or co­caine-pos­ses­sion con­vic­tion last month.

The de­cision was an­nounced Monday by the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee’s chair­man, Rep. Mi­chael Con­away, R-Texas, and rank­ing mem­ber Linda Sanc­hez, D-Cal­if., in a joint state­ment.

A sub­pan­el of mem­bers from the GOP-chaired com­mit­tee will con­duct an ini­tial in­quiry to de­term­ine if House rules were vi­ol­ated. Any re­com­mend­a­tions for pun­it­ive ac­tion would then go to the full com­mit­tee.

The fo­cus of that in­quiry will be to de­term­ine wheth­er Radel, R-Fla., “vi­ol­ated the Code of Of­fi­cial Con­duct or any law, rule, reg­u­la­tion or oth­er ap­plic­able stand­ard of con­duct in the per­form­ance of his du­ties or the dis­charge of his re­spons­ib­il­it­ies with re­spect to con­duct” that led to the his ar­rest and guilty plea, said Con­away and Sanc­hez in their joint state­ment.

Po­ten­tial House ac­tions against Radel could range from a “let­ter of re­prov­al” to a re­com­mend­a­tion for ex­pul­sion.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Charlie Dent, R-Pa., will serve as the chair­man of the in­vest­ig­at­ing sub­com­mit­tee. Reps. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., Mar­sha Black­burn, R-Tenn., and Janice Hahn, D-Cal­if., will also serve on the pan­el.

Ul­ti­mately, there could be a pub­lic Eth­ics Com­mit­tee tri­al if Radel were to fight any charges brought against him.

The 37-year-old fresh­man law­maker is be­lieved to be the first sit­ting House mem­ber ar­res­ted on a co­caine charge. Court doc­u­ments say he bought 3.5 grams of co­caine from an un­der­cov­er po­lice of­fice in Wash­ing­ton’s Dupont Circle on Oct. 29, as part of a fed­er­al in­vest­ig­a­tion.

He was not form­ally charged un­til Nov. 19, and pleaded guilty to the mis­de­mean­or charge the next day, re­ceiv­ing a sen­tence of one year of pro­ba­tion and a $250 fine.

Radel has taken a leave of ab­sence from his le­gis­lat­ive du­ties with an eye to re­turn­ing in Janu­ary, and had vol­un­tar­ily en­rolled in an in­pa­tient sub­stance-ab­use pro­gram.

“Con­gress­man Radel has ac­know­ledged and ac­cep­ted full re­spons­ib­il­ity for his ac­tions and is com­mit­ted to con­tinu­ing and com­plet­ing a treat­ment pro­gram that will help him over­come his per­son­al prob­lems,” said a Radel spokes­man, Greg Dolan. “He ex­pec­ted that the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee would look in­to the mat­ter and in­tends to ap­pro­pri­ately ad­dress the in­vest­ig­a­tion ini­ti­ated by the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee.”

Wash­ing­ton-based law­yer Dav­id Schertler, who rep­res­en­ted Radel in the crim­in­al case, said he is also rep­res­ent­ing the law­maker in the eth­ics mat­ter. He said they have not yet re­ceived any re­quest to ap­pear be­fore the pan­el and have not done so.

Sources say the Eth­ics Com­mit­tee met privately on sev­er­al mat­ters last week pri­or to the House ad­journ­ing for the year, in­clud­ing a ses­sion Thursday to dis­cuss the Radel case.

What We're Following See More »
PRIME TIME ADDRESS
Bloomberg to Endorse Clinton This Week
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Michael Bloomberg will endorse Hillary Clinton this week in a prime-time speech. "The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg, who has not been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; was elected the mayor of New York City as a Republican; and later became an independent. But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated."

Source:
MOST WILL BE BOUND IN 2020
Democrats Vote Major Changes to Superdelegate System
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Democratic Rules Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of a major shift in the superdelegate system Saturday night after a deal was reached between" the Clinton and Sanders camps. "The committee approved nearly unanimously an amendment that preserves the existing superdelegate role for elected U.S. lawmakers and governors, but will bind the remaining superdelegates — roughly two-thirds — to primary and caucus results."

Source:
SHE’LL HAVE A ROLE WITH CLINTON CAMP
Wasserman Schultz to Resign at Week’s End
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."

Source:
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
19 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
3 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
×