UPDATED: Cali Pols Want USADA Congressional Hearing
Group sends letter; asks for investigation into USADA policies
On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of California state senators sent a letter to their two U.S. senators with one request: Ask for a congressional review of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). While the letter never explicitly mentions Lance Armstrong, the 23 state senators’ appeal comes less than two weeks after Armstrong’s decision to stop fighting the doping allegations the USADA had filed against him, claiming that the process was rigged, and specifically mentions athletes who have "never failed a drug test."
According to USA Today, the appeal cites taxpayer dollars that help fund the anti-doping group, and states:
We respectfully request that you call upon (that office) and the appropriate oversight committees of the United States Congress to develop appropriate constitutional protections and conduct a comprehensive review of USADA's operations and finances, with special attention to USADA's unilateral changes in rules for dealing with athletes who have never failed a drug test.
This isn't the first time that politicians have inserted themselves in or near the Armstrong case. Before the sanctions, Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) took a stand against the USADA, while a day later, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) came out in support of the orginization.
Senator Michael J. Rubio (D), whose office sent the letter, claims that his interest in the USADA’s process stemmed from concern for future U.S. Olympians who may one day have to deal with doping accusations, wanting them to have a fair process.
“We look forward to answering any question these state representatives have about the congressionally mandated process that was approved by athletes, the United States Olympic Committee and all U.S. sport federations,” said Travis Tygart, CEO of the USADA in a statement.
The statement also cited Federal Judge Sam Sparks’ recent decision to uphold the USADA’s process when it was challenged by Armstrong in court, stating that the USADA, “provides full Constitutional due process to all athletes accused of doping violations,” and states that the arbitration process has been used in more than 400 cases, 20 percent of which did not include a positive drug test.