Rep. Trey Radel, a freshman Republican from Florida, was arrested on Oct. 29 for possession of cocaine in the District of Columbia, according to D.C. Superior Court documents. Radel, 37, was charged with misdemeanor possession of cocaine in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
It's not at all common for sitting members of Congress to get arrested. Occasionally, members will engage in civil disobedience at a protest -- Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has been arrested dozens of times in pursuit of civil rights -- and once in a great while, we'll hear about a DUI or David Vitter's hookers. But in general, lawmakers write laws; they don't run afoul of them.
For a member of Congress to get busted for cocaine possession is simply remarkable. John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman have today's shocking scoop.
Radel was a conservative talk-radio host before getting elected in a Republican-friendly congressional district just last year. His 10 months as a congressman represents the entirety of Radel's career in public office, and he's kept a relatively low profile since reaching Capitol Hill.
Indeed, looking over my notes, he's crossed my radar screen twice -- once when he said he wanted to delay the Affordable Care Act for a year as part of a larger scheme to eliminate health care benefits altogether in 2015, and again just last month when he graciously and publicly defended Rachel Maddow.
Now, it appears Radel will be known for something else.
TPM added that the maximum penalty for possession of cocaine is 180 days in prison and/or a $1,000 fine, though there's no way to know at this point what kind of punishment the congressman will face.
Also note, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) publicly vowed not too long ago that Republicans would "institute a zero-tolerance policy" when it comes to lawmakers and ethical/legal transgressions. Cantor may not have meant it, but it suggests Radel may face punishment on the Hill, separate from any punishment from the justice system.