Republican Florida Rep. Trey Radel has been charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession in Washington, D.C. A newly elected Tea Party Republican, Radel issued a contrite statement that he has struggled with alcohol and that his alcoholism led to “an extremely irresponsible choice.” UPDATE: Radel has pleaded guilty and received a one year probation sentence.
Radel is a former television reporter and conservative radio host.
This is not his first controversy in a relatively short political career. During the campaign, it was discovered that his campaign committee “Friends of Trey Radel, Inc.” had purchased his opponents’ domain names. Radel first denied playing a role in the subterfuge and blamed staff. He then later admitted it was his doing. His campaign then created misleading websites to highlight negative aspects of his opponents’ voting records. He is described as a Tea Party favorite and was endorsed by both Connie Mack and Rudy Giuliani.
The criminal charge is relatively minor with a potential for 180 days of imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000. Do you think that Radel’s position should be considered in the sentence? Any jail time for the tough-on-crime Tea Party candidate would come at a heavy personal and political cost.
Radel recently called for President Obama’s impeachment, stressing that his actions must have consequences: ““It is one of those times in our history, we are at this breaking point. We have completely lost our checks and balances in this country, the Congress needs to hold the president accountable for the decisions that he’s making right now, and that why again, I would say that all options should be on the table.”
The question is what the “breaking point” may be for the Tea Party and its supporters in Florida.