California Lawmakers Want Congress to Review Activities of Anti-Steroid Group

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Twenty-three state senators from California are concerned that the constitutional rights of competitive athletes are being violated by the country’s main anti-steroid and anti-doping watchdog. California Senator Michael Rubio initiated the bipartisan request for a federal review of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Rubio and his colleagues submitted a letter to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer requesting a “comprehensive review” of USADA since the agency is funded primarily by American taxpayers.

USADA receives approximately $10 million every year in the form of a federal grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The ONDCP is the government office in charge of the U.S. War on Drugs. It also helps fund the government’s “War on Steroids” too with its multi-million dollar grants to USADA.

“We want to clean up sports to the point there’s no doping, but preserve the fundamental rights of citizens,” Rubio said. “This issue boils down to whether amateur athletes should enjoy those fundamental rights. This process can be made better, regardless of where you stand on the Lance Armstrong case.”

The request came shortly after Lance Armstrong decided not to appeal the lifetime ban issued by USADA. The ban was part of the punishment for the celebrated American cyclist’s alleged involvement with anabolic steroids, erythropoietin (EPO) and blood transfusions over the course of his career. USADA also stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong sued USADA in June claiming that his constitutional right to due process was violated. United States District Judge Sam Sparks ruled against Armstrong and dismissed the lawsuit. However, Judge Sparks still questioned USADA’s motives.

“USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives,” wrote Judge Sparks.

Judge Sparks did not feel it was the role of the judiciary to intervene in such a case.

Since a federal judge refused to intervene, Senator Rubio considers the issue a matter for the United States Congress.

“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,” stated the letter address to Senators Feinstein and Boxer.

United States Anti-Doping Agency


Pugmire, L. (September 9, 2012). Lawmaker says push for review of doping agency not about Armstrong. Retrieved from,0,1570532.story