Rep. Radel Hires Top Ethics Lawyer to Advise Him on Cocaine Inquiry

Image: Rep. Radel Hires Top Ethics Lawyer to Advise Him on Cocaine Inquiry

Tuesday, 07 Jan 2014 04:22 PM

By Elliot Jager

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Rep. Trey Radel, on probation for cocaine possession, has hired a former chief counsel to both the Senate and House ethics committees to advise him on how to handle a special House inquiry into his case.

According to Politico, the Florida Republican has brought on attorney Rob Walker of the influential Wiley Rein law firm in Washington and has let go of a crisis management team composed of two veteran GOP communicators who helped him initially after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession on Nov. 20.

The congressman is expected back on Capitol Hill next week with the aim of salvaging his career after spending nearly a month in rehabilitation. He told constituents he wants to begin the process of regaining their trust "and doing what you elected me to do," Politico reported Monday.

The House Ethics Committee has empanelled a special bipartisan subcommittee to investigate Radel, headed by Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent, with Democrat Yvette Clarke of New York serving as ranking member. Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn and California Democrat Janice Hahn are also on the panel.

The four have been asked to examine whether Radel's conviction for possession of cocaine has violated official conduct standards for members of Congress.

Meanwhile, Radel has been under pressure from many Republicans in his Tampa, Fl., area district to resign.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a political action committee has been created to encourage other Republicans to challenge his re-election effort in the August primary.

Among those  reportedly interested in the seat are former Rep. Connie Mack, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, and Chauncey Goss, who finished second to Radel in the 2012 GOP primary contest for the 19th District seat.

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