The Senate Isn’t Thrilled With The World Anti-Doping Agency

The Russian doping scandal has the Senate casting a critical eye on the agency in charge of preventing doping

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Jun 21, 2016 at 2:44 PM ET

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s dithering has caught the attention of the United States Senate, according to the New York Times. Apparently, Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, was none too pleased with the Times’ investigative report alleging that the agency’s clashing political agendas and conflicts of interest hindered it from unearthing the depth and scope of Russia’s state-controlled doping program, even though they’d received a letter way back in 2012 from a discus thrower who was ready to give up the goods.

To be sure, the fact that the U.S. has coughed up $25 million dollars to fund WADA over the last 14 years didn’t sit too well with Thune either, as he noted in a seven-page long letter he fired off on Monday questioning the agency’s overall “strength and credibility” and asking what had taken so darn long.

“WADA’s excuse for its long delay in aggressively investigating these allegations,” he wrote, “overlooks the fact that the evidence WADA received from the whistle-blowers centered on allegations of corruption at the WADA-accredited antidoping laboratory in Moscow and at the Russian national antidoping agency, both of which are under WADA’s direct oversight.”

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Further, Thune and his cohorts in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation want WADA to expand the its current investigation beyond Russia’s recently banned track and field program, and would like to know what steps might be taken to right its institutional ship, given that the current president, Sir Craig Reedie, still maintains a second gig as the International Olympic Committee’s vice president. (In the midst of WADA’s investigation into Russia’s doping program, Reedie sent an email to the Russian sports ministry in which he seemed to reassure the powers that be that he’d make sure that WADA wouldn’t stick its nose too far into their business.)

“WADA’s mission to promote doping-free sport may be undermined since its leadership has ties to national Olympic committees or sports ministries whose goal is to increase a particular nation’s competitiveness and medal counts,” Thune wrote. “A truly independent WADA is essential to the I.O.C.’s mission to demonstrate credibility on the world stage.”

For what its worth, Reedie doesn’t seem too concerned about appearances, describing the recent hubbub over investigations as, “the flavor of the month,” nor is he fretting about athletes from Russia and Kenya that may be able to pass enough of the I.O.C.’s tests to compete in the Olympics this summer.

“That’s their problem,” Reedie said in a previous interview. “I’m one of the few people who doesn’t wake up in the morning and think only about Rio.”