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House ethics committee sets probe of Radel in cocaine case

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[December 17, 2013]  WASHINGTON (Reuters)  The House of Representatives ethics committee said on Monday it would investigate U.S. Representative Henry "Trey" Radel, who pleaded guilty last month to a charge of cocaine possession.

The committee said it established a subcommittee to investigate whether Radel violated congressional rules or broke any other laws related to his responsibilities as a member of Congress.

The 37-year-old Florida Republican said he would take a leave of absence and donate his salary to charity after pleading guilty in Superior Court in Washington to the cocaine possession charge.

Radel, who was elected to the House last year, was sentenced to one year's probation for buying 3.5 grams of cocaine on October 29 in the presence of an undercover agent.

Republican party officials in Florida have called on Radel to resign.

The launch of the formal probe could ultimately result in a formal reprimand by the full House.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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