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Robert Walker Discusses Rep. Radel’s Potential Congressional Sanctions

USA Today
December 5, 2013

Robert L. Walker, an attorney in Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted in a December 3 article in the USA Today about the congressional sanctions that Rep. Troy Radel (R-FL) may face after pleading guilty last month to misdemeanor cocaine possession.

The House Ethics Committee has 30 days from Radel’s guilty plea on November 20 to decide whether to launch an investigation, propose a lesser penalty such as a letter of reproval, or take no action at all.  Mr. Radel, the first sitting House member arrested on a cocaine charge, is currently enrolled in a substance abuse program and plans to return to Congress in January.

Mr. Walker, a former chief counsel and staff director for both the House and Senate ethics panels, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the House committee steps aside in the matter because the court process has already played out.  “Given the fact that he’s pleaded guilty, the committee may decide not to take action and may decide to leave this up to the voters come election time, or may decide to leave it up to the congressman’s own conscience as to how this is going to play out,” Mr. Walker said.