What’s up with Florida politicians behaving badly in recent news? For those of you who are perhaps more jaded than the rest, it might not be a surprise to hear that politicians are people, too, meaning that they make mistakes and get caught up in political and sex scandals. But lately it seems like the trendy scandal amongst disgraced politicians is to get caught with buying and selling drugs.
Florida Congressman Trey Radel has taken a leave of absence from the House until the end of the year and has entered drug rehab after being arrested for possession of cocaine.
Radel was caught up in a federal drug sting last month after buying the drug from an undercover agent in Washington, D.C. The charge is particularly ironic because he had taken public policy stances that included asking welfare recipients to pass a drug test to make them eligible for food stamps. Radel has given no indication that he will step down, even though his fellow Republicans have started to call for his resignation.
Radel apologized, admitted he had a problem but said he would stay in office while on his way to rehab.
Five days before the Republicans called on him to step down, Radel was sentenced to probation in a Washington, D.C. court for buying 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover agent. He kept the Oct. 29 bust secret until news broke the morning before his court appearance. Mr. Radel said last week he was taking a leave of absence from Congress to enter a rehabilitation program after he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a sting operation in which federal authorities arrested him outside a Dupont Circle restaurant after he purchased the cocaine from an undercover officer.
It’s of particular irony because Florida Gov. Rick Scott, an anti-drug conservative and Naples resident is represented by Congressman Radel.
But Trey Radel isn’t the only Florida politician involved in a drug scandal this month. Mayor Barry Layne Moore of Hampton, FL was also recently arrested for selling and possession of oxycodone. The 51-year-old is currently being held in a local jail in lieu of $45,000 bail.
Local officials have called for Moore to step down from office but he has shown no indication that he plans on doing so. And this isn’t the first time Moore has found himself in trouble with the law. In October of 2012, he was arrested and charged with battery, and two months later he was booked with a probation violation for the same crime. In 2005, he was arrested – but not charged – with battery, and in 2011 he had three moving traffic violations with fines totaling $1,000.
And this isn’t just a trend in Florida, or just in the States even. You probably heard about the Toronto mayor, Mayor Rob Ford, who recently admitted to smoking crack cocaine – after supposedly being caught doing so on video. Like Moore and Radel, Ford isn’t going anywhere – he is committed to continuing on as mayor.