Salt Lake Organizing Committee President Mitt Romney believes Congress will be extremely reluctant to jeopardize the success of the 2002 Winter Games or any other Olympic Games in the future.

At least he hopes so.Romney said he would gladly meet with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and any other U.S. senators who are calling for, among other things, an evaluation of whether the International Olympic Committee should be stripped of its tax-exempt status.

"They don't want to jeopardize the Games," Romney said at a Thursday press briefing. If lawmakers step back and look at the big picture, "they will recognize the Olympics are among the few opportunities in the world to stand up for peace."

Of course, it helps that Romney has a long history with McCain, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which will begin investigating the Olympic bribery scandal next month.

McCain helped Romney raise money during Romney's failed U.S. Senate bid in Massachusetts, and just prior to accepting the SLOC job, Romney had met with McCain to discuss McCain's presidential bid.

Romney, who also met with other Republican hopefuls, was looking to provide financial and other campaign assistance to McCain, who he called "a true American hero."

McCain subsequently sent Romney a congratulatory note when Romney accepted the job as SLOC president.

Romney said it is "totally appropriate" the Senate conduct its investigation and that there be an accounting by "those who let us down." Meanwhile, Congress must not shackle SLOC as it prepares for the Games, he said.

Romney, who just returned from meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland, said the IOC's action Wednesday to expel six members was "a good start," but, he added, "there is more to be done." "Those who manage the torch have let down the public at large," he said.

As to whether IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch is the "right person at the right time" to lead IOC reforms -- on Thursday he named himself chairman of the newly created IOC 2000 Commission -- Romney said Samaranch made that decision but the public and sponsors will ultimately decide if it was the right decision.

Romney plans to meet with Olympic sponsors in the weeks ahead in his campaign to restore sponsorship confidence in the Games. Romney told the IOC it is imperative that a technology sponsor be named quickly so that the computer hardware -- the "backbone of the system" -- can be installed.