- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2005

If evidence emerges that Rafael Palmeiro perjured himself in March during congressional testimony on steroids, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We don’t mean to sound like curmudgeons, but perjury is a serious matter, as is the integrity of Congress.

That’s the message we’d like to send Rep. Tom Davis, Virginia Republican, chair of the House Government Reform Committee, who said last week the case would “get an honest look-see.”

Mr. Davis’ staff started pouring over documents furnished by Major League Baseball yesterday, and it’s possible they won’t find anything to implicate Palmeiro in steroid use prior to his now infamous March testimony. But it appears more and more likely that if they don’t, it will be because MLB failed to hand over the right documents.

So far, there is nothing but damning evidence: A failed steroid test and Palmeiro’s ever-changing tune, which seems to pin its fate on the public’s willingness to forget. Back in March, Palmeiro declared: “I have never used steroids. Period.” He seemed credible; people believed him. After news of his steroids suspension, however, he said: “I am here to make it very clear that I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period.” And we also suppose that if Palmeiro took steroids before his March testimony we’ll be told he didn’t actually speak the words at his testimony, at least not intentionally.

President Bush says he believes Palmeiro, a “friend” from his Texas Rangers days. Mr. Bush would seem to be counting on those MLB documents turning up nothing.

It’s anyone’s guess whether they will. Mr. Davis’ staffers are keeping mum on the documents, saying only that they will look through them for red flags. That’s to the good, ensuring the integrity of the investigative process.

If they do, an example should be made of Palmeiro. Mr. Davis seems to grasp this. He put it oddly, however, when he said this last week: “If we did nothing, I think we’d look like idiots, don’t you?”

Well, yes. But then, that’s not the point. The integrity of Congress and the sanctity of the law is.

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