U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, is asking federal officials to defend their doping probe of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, declaring his suspicion that there may be some celebrity-hunting going on. From AFP:
The Georgia Republican made the comments on Friday during a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on budgeting for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
That is the office whose staffers include agent Jeff Novitzky, who handled the BALCO steroid scandal that rocked baseball and athletics and who is looking into Armstrong.
Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis, himself an admitted dope cheat whose use of performance-enhancing drugs cost him a Tour de France crown, said Armstrong and others routinely used banned substances.
Armstrong has steadfastly denied the claims.
“If he has broken the law, then that is a serious matter,” Kingston said. “But it almost appears to me that there’s a little adventurism going on here, that Mr. Novitsky is operating on his own.
“I would like to know how much has been spent on this investigation and why so much has been spent.”
Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the FDA, said her agency is looking into Novitzky’s investigation and would provide information on how much the probe is costing.
“I believe millions have been spent, lots of time, and I would like to know what priority that is in the food chain,” Kingston said.
“What I’m very concerned about, and I hope that I’m proven wrong, but (I think it is) that because it’s a celebrity, and one great way to make a name for yourself in this town and in politics is to bring down a celebrity.
“I really believe this is one man’s tear, maybe a personal issue and I’m not sure where the balance is.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider