Embattled Florida Congressman Radel to return to Capitol Hill

MIAMI Fri Jan 3, 2014 6:40pm EST

Rep. Henry ''Trey'' Radel (R-FLA) talks to the local media during a news conference at his district office in Cape Coral, Florida, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Rep. Henry ''Trey'' Radel (R-FLA) talks to the local media during a news conference at his district office in Cape Coral, Florida, November 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Nesius

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MIAMI (Reuters) - Six weeks after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and checked into a rehab clinic, Florida Congressman Henry "Trey" Radel will rejoin Congress when the new session begins next week, his spokesman said on Friday.

Radel spokesman Greg Dolan declined to immediately confirm a report by Gannett that the Republican representative is enrolled in an out-patient program in Washington. The report said he has joined a peer counseling group, will be randomly drug-tested and meet with a counselor two to five times a week.

Radel, 37, whose election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 had the backing of the conservative Tea Party movement, was charged in November with buying 3.5 grams of cocaine in Washington on October 29, in the presence of an undercover agent.

"I look forward to getting back to work next week, representing my neighbors in Southwest Florida as they face the burdens of Obamacare, a jobless recovery, and a federal government that continues to spend more than it takes in," Radel said in a statement.

The House Committee on Ethics in December said it would launch an investigation into whether Radel violated congressional rules or broke any other laws related to his responsibilities as a member of Congress.

Radel has rebuffed calls for his resignation from the Republican Party of Florida and Governor Rick Scott, even as other Florida Republicans have expressed interest in his seat.

A Super PAC backed by a real estate developer has already pledged $1 million to a Florida politician who recently filed documents to challenge Radel for his seat in the fall election.

Radel has yet to announce whether he'll seek re-election.

"Politics is the last thing on his mind," Dolan told Reuters on Friday.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (6)
Burns0011 wrote:
He pled guilty to cocaine possession. Why is he not serving ten years behind bars, like the other people who pled guilty to having the same amount of cocaine?

Jan 04, 2014 12:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
Daleville wrote:
Why can’t the House throw him out along with all the other Tea Party idiots?

I am pretty conservative and even I think that these people are just nuts.

Jan 04, 2014 2:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
euro-yank wrote:
Any one else convicted of drugs would be in jail, so why is this man still in congress?

Jan 04, 2014 3:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
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