08.06.21

Whitehouse, Wicker Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Crack Down on State-Sponsored Doping

The GOLD Act would ensure aggressive enforcement of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act

Washington, DC – Today, Helsinki Commissioner Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) along with Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) introduced the Guaranteeing Oversight and Litigation on Doping (GOLD) Act. The bipartisan, bicameral bill would enable a doping fraud violation of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act to also activate charges under the U.S. criminal anti-money laundering and racketeering statutes.

The introduction follows comments from athletes expressing concern that this year's Olympic Games-like many in the past-already have been marred by doping.

"The Olympics inspire us with remarkable feats of athleticism and a shared commitment to fair play. But doping schemes undermine the spirit of the games, and help kleptocrats like Putin burnish their image on the world stage. That's why we need to extend the reach of the Rodchenkov Act, which I helped pass into law to tackle international doping. The GOLD Act will help law enforcement use our new anti-doping law to protect the integrity of international sport," said Sen. Whitehouse.

“The United States needs to be ready to address doping fraud. Athletes have already expressed concern about possible doping at the Tokyo Olympics, and next year’s Beijing Olympics are not likely to be better given the corrupt nature of the Chinese Communist Party,” Sen. Wicker said. “The GOLD Act would pick up where the Rodchenkov Act left off, expanding the reach of the law by acknowledging that doping never happens in a vacuum. The corrupt officials and human rights abusers who engage in doping fraud also engage in money laundering, drug trafficking, computer hacking, racketeering, and more.”

“Some of our athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo suspect that there has been performance-enhancing doping going on. One nation with a history of doping was disqualified from participating under its own flag because of past violations. 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,” said Co-Chairman Cohen.

“It is outrageous that clean athletes must continue to face doped athletes in international competition, but it isn’t surprising. No serious deterrent currently exists to stop the networks that engage in doping fraud, so doping continues unabated and remains a powerful asymmetric tool for authoritarian states like Russia to undermine the rule of law. Enforcement of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act would put an end to this,” said Rep. Wilson.

In December 2020, the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, which Senator Whitehouse helped enact, became law. This groundbreaking extraterritorial criminal authority redefined doping as fraud and enables U.S. law enforcement to pursue corrupt administrators, officials, doctors, coaches, and other structural perpetrators of doping anywhere in the world.

On July 21, the Helsinki Commission held a hearing on enforcement of the Rodchenkov Act at the Tokyo Olympics.