Southwest Florida Republican Trey Radel will be the subject of an ethics probe by the House Ethics Committee after a unanimous vote by the committee Monday, the Associated Press reported.
Radel was arrested in October after buying cocaine in an undercover operation by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession in November and was sentenced in November to a year probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine.
Radel, who is in Naples rehabilitation clinic, has been urged to resign the seat by the Republican Party of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican executive committees of Lee and Collier counties.
The Young Republicans of Southwest Florida voted in early December to support Radel staying in office, but declined to say whether the freshman Republican should seek a second term next year.
The 10-member ethics committee, chaired by Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., can recommend punishments for Radel including a reprimand, formal censure or expulsion.
Expulsion from the House is extremely rare. The last member to be expelled was former Rep. Jim Trafficant, D-Ohio, who was kicked out after being convicted of bribery and filing false tax returns.
Most members under threat of expulsion resign first. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote of the House.
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