WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Republican
Representative Trey Radel, who was charged in November with buying
cocaine, resigned from Congress on Monday, saying he could no longer
effectively serve the people he represents in southern Florida.
Radel, 37, elected to the House of Representatives in 2012 backed
by the conservative Tea Party movement, returned to Congress in
January, six weeks after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and
checked into a rehabilitation clinic.
"Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences. While
I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief
that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United
States Representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest
Florida," he wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on
Radel was charged with buying 3.5 grams of cocaine in Washington on
October 29, in the presence of an undercover agent.
The House Committee on Ethics in December said it would launch an
investigation into whether Radel violated congressional rules or
broke any other laws related to his responsibilities as a member of
Radel had rebuffed calls for his resignation from the Republican
Party of Florida and Governor Rick Scott as other Florida
Republicans expressed interest in his seat.
"I look forward to getting back to work next week, representing my
neighbors in Southwest Florida as they face the burdens of
Obamacare, a jobless recovery, and a federal government that
continues to spend more than it takes in," Radel said in a statement
in early January.
The most recent posting on his Twitter account was from January 3,
when he said he took his son to his first movie. His last Facebook
post, on January 15, discusses draft legislation he was working on
targeting identity theft.
"Regardless of some personal struggles in 2013, this year has
already been tremendously positive as I focus on my health, family
and faith," Radel, who represents coastal areas such as Naples and
Cape Coral in Florida's 19th district, wrote on Monday.
Radel did not indicate what his plans were after leaving Congress.
The case against Radel stemmed from an investigation by FBI and Drug
Enforcement Administration agents into cocaine trafficking in the
Washington area, U.S. law enforcement officials have said.
Radel was sentenced to one year of probation in November.
"I am so sorry to be here. I know I have let my constituents down,
my country down and, most importantly, my family, including my wife
and my 2-year-old, who doesn't know it yet," Radel told Judge Robert
Tignor after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; editing by Stephen Powell and