Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement on the Introduction of the Rodchenkov Act

Jan 30, 2019
Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                                 Contact: Robin Chand

January 29, 2019                                                                                  (202) 225–3816

 

Press Statement

 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement on the Introduction of the Rodchenkov Act

Jackson Lee: “Russia’s full-throated defiance of international norms and standards undermines the rule of law and demands the strongest of responses.  The Putin regime uses strategic corruption to destabilize peaceful civil society, democratic institutions, and the alliances that have been the foundation of transatlantic peace and prosperity for the past 70-plus years.  This long overdue bill would define doping for what it is: fraud.  Never again should Russia or any other authoritarian state believe that there will be no legal consequences for committing doping fraud conspiracies.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Budget, and a senior member of the Helsinki Commission, issued this statement on the introduction of legislation which would criminalize international doping fraud conspiracies:

“One week after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) failed to suspend the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) for missing a crucial December 31, 2018, deadline, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Michael Burgess (TX-26) today introduced in the Senate and the House the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act.  The legislation, originally introduced in the 115th Congress, would criminalize international doping fraud conspiracies.

“If enacted into law, the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act will: establish criminal penalties for participating in a scheme in commerce to influence a major international sport competition through prohibited substances or methods; provide restitution to victims of such conspiracies; protect whistleblowers from retaliation; and establish coordination and sharing of information with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. 

“In 2016, Dr. Rodchenkov exposed the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal that took place during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  By deceiving international anti-doping authorities and swapping athletes’ samples, Russian officials cheated U.S. athletes out of Olympic glory and U.S. corporations out of honest sponsorships.  These corrupt officials used bribes and illicit payments, sometimes through U.S. financial institutions, to commit this fraud.  Unfortunately, the masterminds behind the Russian sports doping operation escaped punishment for their actions because there was no U.S. legal mechanism to bring them to justice.

“In February 2018, the Helsinki Commission held a briefing featuring Dr. Rodchenkov’s attorney, Jim Walden, on combating fraud in sports and the role of whistleblowers in safeguarding the integrity of international competitions.  In March, I met with Dr. Rodchenkov to discuss the threat posed by Russia to the United States, corruption in international sports bodies, and how the United States can contribute to the international effort to counter doping fraud.  In July, the Helsinki Commission held a hearing that explored the interplay between doping fraud and globalized corruption and U.S. policy responses, including the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act.

“In October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted seven individuals for involvement in a Russian-operated military intelligence program in which GRU officers are alleged to have conducted sophisticated hacking of U.S. and international anti-doping agencies who investigated and publicly condemned Russia’s state-sponsored doping program.  The hacking victims also included 230 athletes from approximately 30 countries.  The operation was part of a disinformation campaign in which victims’ personal email communications and individual medical and drug testing information, sometimes modified from its original form, was used to actively promote media coverage to further a narrative favorable to the Russian government.

“The legislation I have introduced is bipartisan, and bears the name of a courageous whistleblower, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a courageous man who revealed the true extent of the complex state-run doping scheme which permitted Russia to perform as well as it did in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and which resulted in its ban from the 2018 Olympic Games.  While he was complicit in Russia’s past bad acts, Dr. Rodchenkov regrets his past role in Russia’s state-run doping program and seeks to atone for it by aiding the effort to clean up international sports and to curb the corruption rampant in Russia.  The RADA is an important step to stemming the tide of Russian corruption in sport and restoring confidence in international competition.”

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Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security and the Budget.