Ethics panel to probe Radel cocaine charge

The House Ethics Committee has voted to establish an Investigative Subcommittee to determine whether Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., violated Congressional rules when he was arrested in October for possession of cocaine.

"Pursuant to the Committee's action, the Investigate Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative Henry J. "Trey" Radel III violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation or other applicable standard of conduct in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities, with respect to conduct forming the basis for criminal charges of possession of cocaine in the District of Columbia, to which Representative Radel pled guilty on November 20, 2013," a statement from the committee reads.

According the statement, the Ethics panel voted unanimously on December 12 to form the subcommittee.

Rep Charlie Dent, R-Pa., will serve as the chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee, the statement says, and Rep Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., will serve as the ranking member. Two other members will sit on the subcommittee as well: Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Janice Hahn, D-Calif.

A freshman Congressman from Florida's 19th district, Rep Radel was charged with possession of cocaine after he purchase 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer in the Dupont Circle area of DC on October 29th. He pled guilty to the charge on November 20th and was sentenced to one year probation.

Radel then flew back to Florida, where he announced he would take a leave of absence for an unspecified time to enter a rehab program in his home state. Republican leadership has not called for Radel to step down, instead saying that he should focus on his recovery and what is best for his constituents.