Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.)

Hey, maybe Trey Radel is trying to emulate the coke-addicted Congressman Peter Russo on "House of Cards"! Quick...somebody tell Trey what happened to him. THAT should make him quit...

Hey, maybe Trey Radel is trying to emulate  coke-addicted Congressman Peter Russo from  “House of Cards”! Quick…somebody tell Trey what happened to him. THAT should make him quit…

This is rather straight-forward.  Trey Radel was elected to represent his district and his state in Congress, and to make laws. He broke the law instead, getting arrested for trying to purchase cocaine. The short term for the Florida Congressman is “disgrace,” and if he had any respect for those who thought  they were voting for an honest, trustworthy man, he would resign. Instead, after taking a leave of absence to complete a rehab program (meaning that a self-inflicted disability robbed his district from representation for about 4% of the term he pledged to serve), he vows to stay on the job. Typical of his nonsensical posturing is this statement:

“I love what I do. And I’m going to return to what I do, what you sent me to do in Washington, D.C — which is working for you and your family.”

But what you have done, Congressman, is to break the law and humiliate your supporters, party and state, which you were not elected to do. Who cares how much you love your job? Nobody but an idiot or a drug dealer could love the way you perform it.

Does this sound like someone rational voter would want representing them in Washington? From NPR:

“According to documents released by prosecutors, the federal authorities learned this fall that Mr. Radel, a freshman legislator, had bought cocaine on several occasions for his own use in Washington and had sometimes shared it with others. As part of a sting operation last month, an undercover police officer and an associate of Mr. Radel’s met him at a restaurant near Dupont Circle, and Mr. Radel invited them back to his apartment to use cocaine. After they declined, the officer told Mr. Radel that he had cocaine to sell. Mr. Radel said he was interested, and after some negotiating, Mr. Radel agreed to buy 3.5 grams for $250. They went outside, Mr. Radel gave the officer the money, and they got into a car where the officer gave him the cocaine. When Mr. Radel got out of the car, he was approached by federal agents, and he dropped the cocaine on the street.”

Now Radel has seen the light, and—I’m not making this up—has added to his advocacy of drug-testing food stamp recipients a recommendation that public officials should be tested too—so people like Radel would be exposed before they get caught in stings. Hey! I’ve got an even better idea! Let’s just require that any Congressman caught buying coke has to resign!

By refusing to do the right thing and let somebody trustworthy take his job, resisting the obvious conclusion that his actions have disqualified him from the high office he serves, and using rationalizations to stay a member of a body that has too many hypocrites, fools and villains already, Trey Radel’s conduct since his arrest have been just as unethical as his actions leading up to it. As Terry Miller, the Republican chairman in Lee County, Florida says of Radel, “When you betray the public’s trust and you put yourself in illegal activity — and let’s be clear, what he did would have been a felony had it happened in his home state — I think that disqualifies you from representing your constituency.”

It sure does.


Facts: NPR

Source: New York Times

15 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.)

  1. I thought I was the only one awake and ranting at this hour.
    Radel is a disgrace. But, his recent and self-serving “ideas” about drug testing sound like a good idea.
    Terry Miller is right to demand his resignation which puts him on the ethics hero side of the ledger. Not many elected officials require people from their own party to be accountable.

  2. Trey Radel was elected to represent his district and his state in Congress, and [emphasis added] to make laws.

    !!! That’s a surprisingly common misreading, which has even ended up as part of statutory requirements for representatives in Australia. Yet it has often happened in history – 19th century Irish M.P.s, for instance – that the opposite was the case: that representatives may in fact have the moral duty not to make laws. It is in fact a large part of the duty of an opposition within the Westminster System, that it is not their duty to work to make the government’s work better (in either the ethical or the engineering sense). Yes, of course I know that he is not under such a system; I only use it for purposes of illustration, to show that it is sometimes true that a representative’s duty is to say “no!”, and to give physical expression to the word.

      • You’re still building in the faulty assumption, which rules out behaving ethically in the extreme cases. Yes, they are indeed unusual, but the representatives are there for the emergencies as well as ordinary situations. The Irish M.P.s were sent to Westminster precisely and knowingly in order to apply the tactic of seeking to frustrate the legislative process until Ireland was offered an acceptable deal, with the full endorsement of their constituents. No, that does not mean “there you are! they were there to legislate a fair deal!”, because that was not on offer; they were there to prepare the ground for later stages, and their own remit was only ever to frustrate. The fact that there was an acceptable vote in the 1920s does not mean that those 1870s and 1880s Irish M.P.s (not the Orange ones, of course) were there to legislate.

        So, for any representative, there may come a situation in which his or her ethical obligation is not to legislate but to frustrate legislating. Requiring them always to assist is to build in a result they may be obliged to thwart. Yes, they are there to legislate anything that should be legislated, but to fail to qualify that like that and to require them to legislate is to require them to fail in their remit just when it matters most.

        • You’re quibbling, as you enjoy doing, and that’s fine. I never disputed that opposing laws is a valid use of one’s legislative position. The point, which was clear, was that personally breaking existing laws is NOT a valid use.

        • That was no quibble, it was bringing out a very important aspect of the very real duties – the history of Ireland amply shows that – which you have tuned out. The very fact that you think it is a quibble is a measure of how much you are tuning it out.

          And as for “the point”, that was the main point and thrust of your post, which was never at issue, but it most emphatically was not “the” point of all this, which was to bring out and show you what you had materially erred about in passing. To revert to the other issue is, again, tuning out and missing the actual, real, important point I was trying to show.

          • As the current GOP House shows, the theory that the duty of elected representatives includes not making bad laws (or laws they believe are unwise) is alive and well in the U.S. I have trouble covering US ethics adequately…I can’t be held to cover the Irish legislature as well.

            • Maybe the Irish legislature and the rest of the parliaments over there should get themselves a solid dose of bicameralism and other aspects of legislative processes specifically designed to protect minority opinions from majority overreach.

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