A Congressional subcommittee has decided to not seek perjury charges against Rafael Palmeiro following its investigation of the player's Capitol Hill statement that he had not used steroids and subsequent suspension by Major League Baseball for failing a drug test. The House Government Reform Committee's three-month inquiry, the results of which were released Thursday, led to a 44-page report and the determination that evidence is "insufficient to merit a perjury referral." In anticipation of the release of the lawmakers' report, Palmeiro on Wednesday had issued a statement in which he apologized for the consequences of his actions but shed little new light on how he came to test positive for stanozolol, maintaining no intent to take the anabolic steroid.
At the end of MLB's exhaustive appeal process, Palmeiro was handed his 10-game suspension on Aug. 1. When the action was traced back to the drug test he had failed in May -- less than two months after his stern denial of steroids use in front of the Committee -- chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) promptly announced the launch of the investigation. After exploring details of the case log furnished by MLB and interviewing teammates and workout partners, the Committee, according to its report, "did not make further determinations about the accuracy or inaccuracy of assertions by Mr. Palmeiro or others." "Since I was informed last May that I tested positive for steroids, I have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball and Congress in their respective inquiries into this matter," Palmeiro had said in his statement. "I have done so because I have nothing to hide." Palmeiro's statement also reiterated the possibility a shot of vitamin B-12 he was given by a teammate "might have been the cause" of the positive drug test. Since that claim first arose, Miguel Tejada has been identified as the teammate -- and subsequently absolved by MLB's own inquiry into the matter. In the course of the Congressional investigation, more of Palmeiro's drug-testing history and the depth of the research that followed the positive test research came to light. According to the player's lawyers, he had tested negative for steroids in both 2003 and 2004. A second test later in May also came up negative. The lawyers wrote in the report, "Every other item that might be to blame for Rafael's failed test -- from vitamins to protein drinks -- was tested, and no steroids were found. The only item that could not be tested -- and is therefore suspect -- was a vial of liquid, injectable vitamin B-12 which Rafael took in the middle of April 2005." Two weeks before the announcement of his suspension, Palmeiro collected his 3,000th career hit, becoming the fourth player in history to pair that number with 500-plus home runs. "Everything I have been working for all my life -- to play the game that I love with dignity and earn the respect and admiration of my colleagues and fans -- has been changed by my suspension," Palmeiro said in his Wednesday statement. "For this, I alone take full responsibility. "I have never intentionally taken steroids. But I must also acknowledge that stanozolol, a banned substance, was found in my system in May." Palmeiro added, "Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed in me than I am. ... All my accomplishments are now tainted." The House Government Reform Committee's alternative would have been to make "a perjury referral to the Department of Justice," a step rarely taken.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.