Jun 20 2009
Congressman William Lacy Clay of Missuouri answered Sammy Sosa-related questions and the possible perjury case against him regarding sworn testimony about steroids and human growth hormone after presiding a subcommittee hearing on identity theft. One of Clay’s colleagues started an investigation on the veracity of Sosa’s statements during the 2005 hearing where Sosa denied using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Other personalities present at the said hearing included Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and slugger Jose Canseco, who published his tell-all book entitled Juiced.
“I distinctly remember that hearing, with Mr. Palmeiro shaking his finger at me,” said Rep. Clay said. Palmeiro later on tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. “With today’s revelations, and we know from previous witnesses, it looks as though Mr. Canseco was the most honest witness we’ve had on this issue.”
In 2003, New York Time reported that Sosa tested positive for an unspecified performance-enhancing drug. This is the same year when baseball was conducting a supposedly anonymous survey test to measure the extent of the steroid problem within the sport. Now Edolphus Towns, the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wants to get to the bottom of the clear contradiction despite the political contention.
“The [committee] always takes seriously suggestions that a witness misled the committee while testifying under oath,” Towns said in a statement. “Investigators will begin a review of this matter and, upon learning the results, I will determine appropriate next steps. It is important to note that this review will not distract us from our ongoing work on the financial crisis and from conducting oversight of the stimulus.”
When Towns became the committee chairman this year, he has been more reluctant than his predecessors in devoting the committee’s investigative staff on surrounding steroid issues in sports. Two other previous chairmen Republican Tom Davis and Democrat Henry Waxman oversaw the committee’s hearings in 2005 and 2008, respectively.
Meanwhile, Canseco’s lawyer said he appreciated the comments made by Clay about his client, who was vilified in many quarters for ratting out his former teammates to make profits in his published book. Clay is also the congressman who asked Clemens in the 2008 hearings what he would be wearing to the Hall of Fame. Clemens is under investigation by the FBI and Dan Butler is also investigating whether Roger Clemens committed perjury during his deposition and public hearing.
During the hearing Clemens was asked by Stephen Lynch about the medical records he had procured that where related to an abscess on his backside, which was allegedly related to a poorly executed steroid injection. Lynch also said that the committee would have to address the Sosa situation to demonstrate that laws were evenly applied.
“I’d have to review his testimony, but from my memory it would be pretty problematic,” said Rep. Lynch. “I think it shouldn’t occupy us for a lot of time. To handle this matter in a responsible way shouldn’t take a lot from the committee….It’s a good investment of our time, but as quickly as possible we should hand that off to the Justice Department.”
Both Lyn and Clay acknowledged that questions about Sosa’s testimony would be complicated during the 2005 hearing since Sosa seemed to struggle with English, his second language.