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Today in Hypocrisy: Anti-Drug GOP Congressman Busted on Coke Charge

Posted on Nov 20, 2013
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Republican Trey Radel.

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., who backed proposed rules to let states require drug tests of welfare recipients, was sentenced Wednesday morning to a year’s probation after being caught with a small amount of cocaine last month in Washington, D.C.

According to CNN, Radel was contrite in court:

“Your honor, I apologize for what I’ve done,” Radel told Judge Robert Tignor in court Wednesday. “I think in life I’ve hit a bottom where I realize I need help.”

Radel said he was aggressively pursuing that help, with the support of friends and loved ones.

“I’m so sorry to be here,” he continued, saying that he knew he’d let his constituents, his country and his family down and that he would work to recover and to be a better man. “I want to come out of this stronger,” he said.

Radel, a former journalist who won election in November 2012, voted for the drug-testing measure in September; he got popped in October, according to Politico. The Huffington Post drew the two events together in one succinct package, but BuzzFeed got the quote of the scandal from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA.

“It’s really interesting it came on the heels of Republicans voting on everyone who had access to food stamps get drug tested. It’s like, what?” she said.

“The fact is, there are certain things, especially in Congress, where we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” she added.

Radel issued a short statement on his congressional website that reads in part:

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.

In facing this charge, I realize the disappointment my family, friends and constituents must feel.  Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.

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.

As Politico noted, the statement makes no mention of whether he would resign from the House. Nor does it mention whether his position on drug testing of the poor has changed. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said through a spokesman that “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.”

And his coke dealer. Politico says The Associated Press reported that Radel made a small buy near Dupont Circle from a dealer who apparently had been busted before and was working with the cops, who showed up at Radel’s door after the buy to inform him he’d be facing charges.

Radel isn’t the first to fall into the political version of “do as I say, not as I do,” obviously enough. And political-personal hypocrisy is hardly exclusive to the Republicans. With any sort of luck, maybe a few more House members will look at Radel and begin to understand that addiction is an illness, and not the lifestyle choice they seem to think it is.

—Posted by Scott Martelle.

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