The foundation created by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has initiated a lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill in an attempt to counter doping allegations against its namesake, the Associated Press reports.
Among other things, the Austin-based Lance Armstrong Foundation — which has operated as Livestrong since 2009 — filed papers with Congress on Wednesday confirming that it has hired Patton Boggs, a well-known lobbying firm, to represent it. The announcement comes on the heels of reports that an unidentified Washington lobbyist representing the foundation had visited the office of U.S. congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) to discuss the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The meeting, said Serrano spokesman Philip Schmidt, was "substantially if not all about USADA and concerns about the process that Lance Armstrong is being put through."
The foundation and its chief lobbyist also met with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) last month to discuss its fundraising for cancer research and how the allegations against its founder might affect its work in the future. Previous reports have estimated that the organization's fundraising revenue could fall by as much as $10 million a year if prosecutors are able to prove Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of Tour doping rules.
According to the AP, USADA granted Armstrong an extension of up to thirty days to contest the drug charges against him or accept sanctions, which may include a lifetime ban from cycling and other professional sports as well as the revocation of the seven Tour titles he won from 1999 to 2005. USADA seeks to adjudicate claims of misconduct beginning in 1998; the Justice Department dropped its investigation against Armstrong in February.
"[P]eople are concerned, we are very concerned and we have spoken publicly about the need for fairness and due process," Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane told the AP, "and we hope Lance is given the opportunity for the due process any American deserves in this respect."