Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, and the original co-sponsors of the Guaranteeing Oversight and Litigation on Doping (GOLD) Act, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Roger Wicker, Congressmen Joe Wilson, Richard Hudson, Michael C. Burgess, M.D., Tom Malinowski and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, released a joint statement on the ongoing doping scandal involving the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).
The bipartisan and bicameral cosponsors are Senators and Helsinki Commission Members Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Roger Wicker of Mississippi; Congressman and Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Joe Wilson of South Carolina; Congressman and Helsinki Commission Member Richard Hudson of North Carolina; and former Helsinki Commissioners Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Michael C. Burgess, M.D., of Texas and Representative Tom Malinowski of New Jersey.
The GOLD Act works with the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, enacted last Congress, that makes it a U.S. crime to dope in an international competition anywhere in the world. The competition must touch the U.S. economy or financial system or be broadcast in the United States. Athletes are not targeted by the new crime, rather, the bill targets structural elements, such as corrupt administrators, officials, coaches, doctors, et cetera.
The statement reads:
"The routine use of performance-enhancing drugs by Russian athletes is fraud, and it must have severe consequences. While punishing individual athletes for doping can be complicated due to the fact that their trainers and coaches may implement bad practices, someone must be held accountable for this fraud. Those in the know on the Russian team and any corrupt officials must pay a steep price. We need better enforcement of anti-doping rules to make sure the Olympics are clean and that athletes are winning based on their own capabilities and training."
The Guaranteeing Oversight and Litigation on Doping (GOLD) Act would make doping fraud -- a violation of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act -- activate possible charges under the U.S. criminal anti-money laundering and racketeering statutes.