With the player's consent, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, asked Major League Baseball on Wednesday to turn over information about the failed drug test that resulted in a 10-day suspension for Palmeiro this week.
Palmeiro was suspended 10 days for violating Major League Baseball's steroids policy Monday, nearly five months after the Baltimore Orioles first baseman emphatically
"As a practical matter, perjury referrals are uncommon," Davis told The Associated Press. "Prosecutions are rare. But this is a high-profile case, so I think it will get an honest look-see. I don't think anyone can avoid it.
"If we did nothing," he added, "I think we'd look like idiots, don't you?"
Palmeiro, who plays for the Baltimore Orioles, tested positive for the powerful steroid stanozolol, a person with knowledge of the sport's drug-testing program told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The person did not want to be identified because the sport prohibits disclosure of test results without authorization.
The positive test came after Palmeiro's appearance before Congress but before he recorded his 3,000th hit last month. That means he reached the milestone — joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in major league history with 3,000 hits and 500 homers — after he knew about the positive results, the source told the AP.
When the suspension was announced Monday, Palmeiro stood by his statements to Congress and said he didn't know what caused the positive test.
Stanozolol is what sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada tested positive for when he was stripped of his gold medal and world record in the 100 meters at the 1988 Olympics. It is not available in over-the-counter supplements and is known as a powerful strength-builder.
The lawmakers asked for the complete results of all drug tests taken by Palmeiro, including what was detected and how much. During a telephone conversation with Davis on Tuesday night, Palmeiro agreed to have baseball release that information to Congress.
"He was pretty adamant about the point he didn't do anything," Davis said. "He also remarked he didn't have a lot of time to enjoy his 3,000th hit. There was an allusion to that."
They spoke for about three minutes and Palmeiro had attorneys on the phone with him, Davis said.
"What we are concerned about, obviously, is the integrity of the committee process when we swear people in. We have an obligation to look further into it, and I explained that to him, and he said he understood," the congressman said.
In confirming that he would cooperate with the committee, Palmeiro said that if it has any additional questions, "I am ready and willing to answer each and every one of them."
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said the documents would be released as requested "in a timely manner," but did not give specifics and did not know if they would be made public once received.