Like Causes?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 835

Should People Involved in Int’l Doping Fraud Conspiracies be Subject to U.S. Criminal & Civil Sanctions?

Argument in favor

Doping undermines trust in the results of international sports competitions. Combating doping is an important step that will protect sports competitions’ results and ensure that athletes are competing on fair playing fields. Expanding U.S. legal institutions’ jurisdiction to punish these crimes is justified given that the U.S. is the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) biggest funder.

Ayush's Opinion
···
10/22/2019
Yes, we must combat doping for the sake of our country.
Like (1)
Follow
Share
Doug's Opinion
···
10/22/2019
If these incidents occurred on US soil yes, otherwise they should only be held accountable to the laws of the countries hosting the event. Countries that do not have similar laws should not have US athletes participate if they don’t.
Like
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Expanding U.S. jurisdiction to prosecute doping at the international level steps on other nations’ toes, and won’t be tolerated by other countries. Rather than relying on U.S. legal institutions to punish doping, the U.S. should instead help strength the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which is explicitly set up to investigate and punish doping in international sport.

JTJ's Opinion
···
10/22/2019
US liberals allow men to compete against women under the guise of transgender rights. I don’t see how we can be the moral authority on doping.
Like (5)
Follow
Share
Robert's Opinion
···
10/22/2019
No cost estimation, people could go to prison, could be fined up to 250,000, if they are in jail how are they going to pay the fine? Enforce the laws we have on our books quit trying to make new laws when you won’t enforce the ones we have.
Like (1)
Follow
Share

What is House Bill H.R. 835?

This bill — the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping (RADA) Act of 2019 — would impose criminal sanctions on people involved in international doping fraud conspiracies, provide restitution for the victims of these conspiracies, and require that information be shared with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to assist in its fight against doping. 

This bill would make it illegal for any person other than an athlete to knowingly carry out, attempt to carry out, or conspire with another person to put into effect a scheme to influence the use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method in any major international sports competition. To enforce this provision, this bill would create extraterritorial federal jurisdiction over these types of offenses. People in violation of this law would be sentenced to terms of imprisonment up to 10 years and/or fined up to $250,000. Their property in the U.S. may be subject to seizure and forfeiture, as well.

“Major international sports competition” would be defined as an international sports event, even one outside the U.S., with at least three other nations participating in the event. At least four American athletes would have to be participating in the event, or at least two American companies would be sponsors of the event.

To enhance the ability of cheated athletes and corporate sponsors to seek damages, this bill would expand the window of time in which they could file civil lawsuits.

By criminalizing participation in a major international doping fraud conspiracy, this bill would also protect whistleblowers from retaliation. They would be included under existing witness and informant protection laws.

Finally, this bill would establish coordination and sharing of information with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Federal agencies involved in the fight against doping would coordinate and share information with USADA.

Impact

Athletes; sports organizations; athletes and sports organizations participating in doping; punishment of athletes and sports organizations participating in doping; international sports competitions; United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Cost of House Bill H.R. 835

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced this bill to criminalize international doping fraud conspiracies

“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.”

Rep. Jackson Lee argues that doping fraud must be combated to restore confidence in international sporting competition:

“Doping fraud is a crime in which big money, state assets and transnational criminals gain advantage and honest athletes and companies are defrauded. This practice, some of it state-sanctioned, has the ability to undermine international relations, and is often connected to more nefarious actions by state actors… 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.”

Rep. Jackson Lee discussed this bill’s background, including its namesake, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov:

“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… 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.”

She also noted last year’s revelation that Russian Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) officers hacked U.S. and international anti-doping agencies

“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.”

Senate sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) adds

“We know from experience that we must meet the bad behavior of Russia’s corrupt government with strength.  Anything less they take as encouragement. That’s why the responses of WADA and the International Olympic Committee to the Russian doping scandal fall woefully short.  Now is the time to create stiff penalties for Russia’s cheating and send a signal that Russia and other sponsors of state-directed fraud can’t use corruption as a tool of foreign policy.”

Jim Walden, a lawyer for Dr. Rodchenkov who met with this bill’s authors as they considered the issue in recent months, says it could affect real change:

‘‘We could have real change if people think they could actually go to jail for this. I think it will have a meaningful impact on coaches and athletes if they realize they might not be able to travel outside of their country for fear of being arrested.’’

This legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee by voice vote with the support of 28 bipartisan cosponsors, including 21 Democrats and seven Republicans. The National Football League (NFL) endorses this legislation.

Last Congress, this legislation had three bipartisan House cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Whitehouse, had one cosponsor, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Neither bill received a committee vote last Congress.


Of NoteA number of nations — including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain — have adopted criminal sanctions for doping fraud violations. Russia has also passed a law making it a crime to assist or coerce doping (however, no known charges have been brought under the law to date).

Doping fraud is often linked with corruption, bribery, and money laundering in major international competitions such as the Olympics, World Cup, and Tour de France. It also disturbs athletes' livelihoods, as they depend on prize money and sponsorships to sustain their livelihoods. 

This bill invokes the United States’ contribution to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the global regulator of drugs in sports, to justify the expansion of U.S. jurisdiction over global competitions. It argues that since the United States’ annual contribution ($2.3 million) is the single largest of any nation, “[d]oping fraud in major international competitions also effectively defrauds the United States.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / luckyraccoon)

AKA

Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act of 2019

Official Title

To impose criminal sanctions on certain persons involved in international doping fraud conspiracies, to provide restitution for victims of such conspiracies, and to require sharing of information with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to assist its fight against doping, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedJanuary 29th, 2019
    US liberals allow men to compete against women under the guise of transgender rights. I don’t see how we can be the moral authority on doping.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    No cost estimation, people could go to prison, could be fined up to 250,000, if they are in jail how are they going to pay the fine? Enforce the laws we have on our books quit trying to make new laws when you won’t enforce the ones we have.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, we must combat doping for the sake of our country.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    This steps on the toes of other nations. There are far better steps to take to discourage doping on an international scale.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    If these incidents occurred on US soil yes, otherwise they should only be held accountable to the laws of the countries hosting the event. Countries that do not have similar laws should not have US athletes participate if they don’t.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Encouraging this will help our country
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    If doping is considered unfair and illegal then how can any rational person justify letting men compete in women’s sporting events?
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Sports are merely a distraction from your government oppressed lives....much like the use of gladiators back in Ancient Greek and Roman times. Who cares if they use performance enhancing drugs, it’s all to keep you entertained and glued to the TV anyway.
    Like
    Follow
    Share