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August 28, 2015

CREW Asks if Radel Shared Cocaine Around the Hill

Has Rep. Trey Radel been snorting cocaine with other members of Congress or congressional staff?

The watchdogs at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are calling on the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate that, and many other questions surrounding the Florida Republican’s conduct during his first 10 months on Capitol Hill.

Radel, center, leaving court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Radel, center, leaving court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“As a member of Congress who has lived in the District of Columbia for less than a year, how did he become acquainted with a cocaine dealer?” writes CREW in a four-page letter to the independent, nonpartisan entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against members, officers and staff of the House.

The OCE does not publicly comment on which matters it chooses to investigate. When the fact-finding office looks into a violation, it hands over its findings to the House Ethics Committee, when appropriate.

So far, Ethics Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, has not weighed in on Radel’s guilty plea to the misdemeanor crime.

“We don’t talk about it. I can’t comment,” Conaway told CQ Roll Call on Wednesday. “I don’t comment on Ethics Committee stuff no matter what it is.”

Under House Rules, the panel is obligated to “empanel an investigative subcommittee to review the allegations” within 30 days of an indictment or charge against a member of Congress.

“Unbelievably, the House Ethics Committee seems intent on ignoring Rep. Radel’s crimes, but cocaine possession by a government official sworn to uphold the law is no small matter,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.

Despite the conviction, House Republicans have not called on Radel to step down. Radel has announced a leave of absence from D.C. while he seeks treatment.

CREW also wants to know if members or staffers here in Washington helped Radel score his drugs by purchasing or facilitating the sales.

Court documents point out that the Oct. 29 purchase the charge stemmed from was far from the first time Radel used the drug. He blames the problem on an addiction, but CREW calls that irrelevant from an ethics standpoint.

The complaint alleges “many questions remain about the extent of Rep. Radel’s drug use and the possible involvement of other members of Congress and congressional staff … it is incumbent on the Office of Congressional Ethics to conduct a thorough investigation of this matter.”

Sloan believes exploring how far Radel’s drug use might have spread within Congress is a logical step, especially given his freshman status.

“You can’t just walk into Dupont Circle and meet a drug dealer,” she said. “And who does he hang out with? Likely he hangs out with people who work in Congress.”

Matt Fuller contributed to this report.

Comments (7)

  1. OldmanRick

    Nov. 21, 2013
    4:31 p.m.

    “As a member of Congress who has lived in the District of Columbia for less than a year, how did he become acquainted with a cocaine dealer?”

    Do the watchdogs at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics have their head up and locked, their eyes closed, and their ears shut? They must since they are asking such a question in D.C. where coke or snow is a bit more expensive but about as common as aspirin. Well I may be exaggerating a bit, but not by much. It used to be known as the drug of choice by the elitists in government and lobbying groups. It was the drug for the guy on the go, the one moving upward and onward. It was the in thingy.

  2. ivan

    Nov. 21, 2013
    5:09 p.m.

    I think the real question becomes, will the so called ethics committee do anything at all . Or will they follow the speaker of the house and ignore this because this fool is a republican.? Want to bet if this had been a democrat the so called speaker would have been after the guys job right off the bat.

  3. Dirk Diggler

    Nov. 22, 2013
    11:28 a.m.

    Had no idea that Dupont Circle was THE place to score powder cocaine.

  4. Defend Liberty

    Nov. 23, 2013
    9:01 a.m.

    While the collectivist notion of a top-down designed society runs counter to science, the individualist conception aligns with integral calculus and atomic theory in the sense that the whole is best described through the individual parts.

  5. Montesquieu

    Nov. 24, 2013
    4:42 a.m.

    Trey Radel is a disgrace. He should resign immediately and forfeit all benefits of the office he has disgraced.

  6. Montesquieu

    Nov. 24, 2013
    4:42 a.m.

    Our infinite variation includes the unique traits within us that lead to our own personality, specific tastes, and individual worth.

  7. James Hall

    Nov. 25, 2013
    10:27 a.m.

    When you drink as much as Boehner at age 64 you need cocaine to keep from falling asleep in the bar (or on the House floor.) My guess is that there is more than one Republican Congressman snorting a line at this moment. The most damning anecdotal evidence is that as a whole House Republicans exhibit a personality in many ways identical to a habitual cocaine abuser.

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