Radel, center, leaves court last month after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Weeks after news of his cocaine bust broke, Rep. Trey Radel continues to cling to his seat in Congress in what could ultimately become a testament to the changing mores on Capitol Hill.
The Florida Republican, who checked himself into rehab last month, has faced his fair share of calls to resign — notably from home-state Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry.
Some of his congressional colleagues from Florida also wonder why he is sticking around.
“I don’t know the depth of his problem or his situation that well. If it were me, I would probably realize there’s a lot more to life than being a member of Congress and getting my life in order is the priority,” said Florida Republican Rep. Dennis A. Ross. “But I don’t think that anybody can put themselves in his shoes.”
“When you have a member of Congress who might go to rehab because they’re an alcoholic, that’s one thing,” said GOP Rep. Tom Rooney, whose district neighbors Radel’s. “I think that’s admirable. Coming from a family that has alcoholism in it, I’ve seen my share of people that I love go through addiction and rehabilitation. But when you do it as a result of a crime, how is that different?”
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., appear content to let the voters decide whether Radel’s punishment will extend beyond probation and a $250 fine. Neither is calling for his resignation or for any significant punishment, such as removal from committee assignments, nor have they issued general statements of condemnation. Full story