Skip to Content

Congressional leaders ignore calls for Radel's resignation

'High' hypocrisy on Capitol Hill

Additionally Boehner supported a 1995 congressional action, also backed by President Clinton, that rejected elimination of one of the Drug Wars most racist measures: the sentencing law penalizing crack cocaine more harshly than powder cocaine.

That late 1980s-era law filled federal prisons with blacks, primarily street corner dealers and even crack addicts charged with simple possession. Congressional rejection of a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to change that racially biased sentencing law represented the first ever congressional rejection of a Sentencing Commission recommendation. Congress, ironically, specially created that commission to provide Congress with recommendations on sentencing. Congress had approved 500 recommendations before that rejection.

It bears recalling that the same President Clinton who took that hard line on public housing residents and crack law offenders admitted during his campaign for president using pot…albeit with the absurd caveat of ‘smoking but not inhaling.’ Clinton’s lawyerly ability to parse his pot smoking was a precursor to his drawing a distinction during the Monica Lewinsky Oval Office sex scandal between sexual acts, claiming fellatio was not having sex.in order to dodge a perjury conviction.

Outside the Beltway many cite the Capitol Hill silence on Radel’s continued congressional service as another glaring example of the double-standards rife in the War on Drugs. Racism has stained this decades’ long enforcement onslaught.

Many cite the prison sentence meted to Washington, DC Mayor Marion Berry, an African-American, after his arrest for smoking crack in a federal sting operation and compare it to the probation sentence slapped on Radel’s powder cocaine possession.

However, a more odious example of racist double standards occurred a few months before Berry’s January 1990 arrest, when then President George H. W Bush resorted to subterfuge for dramatizing his need to intensify the Drug War. The Bush White House had federal drug agents lure a black teenage crack dealer into the park across from the White House for a purchase. That entrapment enabled Bush to wave that confiscated crack as a prop during a nationally televised speech on drugs, where Bush - the father of George W. - falsely declared the drug scourge was on the doorstep of the White House.

That teen in this orchestrated spectacle received a ten-year sentence under the mandatory provisions of the unjust crack laws supported by Bush, Clinton, Boehner and others. A federal judge, apologizing during sentencing for having to impose such a lengthy mandatory term, urged that teen to seek clemency from Bush, who the judge accused from the bench of having “used” the teen “in making a big speech on the drug trade.”

President Bush failed to either pardon or grant clemency to that teen but, in 1992, did grant Christmas Eve pardons to six of his criminal colleagues in the Reagan Administration – where he served as Vice-President. Those six were involved in the Iran-Contra Scandal, where the Reagan White House covertly aided illegal cocaine sales inside the United States to help fund their favored Contra terrorists fighting to overthrow the government in Nicaragua.

Trey Radel is simply one name on a long list of hypocrites in politics, which highlights the need to end the fiscally wasteful and tactically unsuccessful War on Drugs, a bankrupt policy that drains funding from dire social needs while making America the most imprisoned nation on earth.



story | by Dr. Radut