SALT LAKE CITY — The International Olympic Committee — that traveling circus of bribery and corruption — is facing another scandal.

Is anybody in Salt Lake City surprised?

IOC member Carlos Nuzman, the organizer of the 2016 Summer Olympics, is accused of making a $2 million payment into the account of Papa Massata Diack two days before Rio won the bid to host the Games. Diack, who has been banned from international athletics for corruption, is the son of former IOC member Lamine Diack. According to The Guardian, Lamine Diack is believed to have voted for Rio in exchange for the money.

Lamine Diack was forced to resign as president of the IAAF (track and field’s governing body) in 2015 amid charges of corruption and money laundering lodged against him and his sons.

Last year it was revealed that $1.5 million was transferred from a bank in Japan to a company called Black Tidings in a 2013 transaction marked “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game bid.” The owner of the account reportedly is Papa Diack, who is wanted by French authorities.

Meanwhile, Sepp Blatter, another prominent member of the IOC for 16 years who also served as president of FIFA (soccer’s governing body), was kicked out of FIFA in 2015 for corruption.

Issa Hayatou remained an IOC member until 2016 despite repeated charges of corruption, including taking bribes in Qatar’s successful World Cup bid. He remains one of 40 “honorary members” of the IOC (as does Patrick Hickey, who was arrested in a Rio ticket scandal).

In other words, it’s business as usual at the IOC.

If nothing else, all of the above is further vindication for Salt Lake City and its role in the bid scandal to secure the 2002 Winter Olympics. Dave Johnson, one of the two whipping boys for the scandal along with Tom Welch, put it this way when contacted last week: “It wasn’t and isn’t a Salt Lake issue.”

No, it’s an IOC issue and always has been. The IOC has been living on the world’s dime for decades, having created a culture in which it expects (no, demands) to be wined, dined, lodged, limo’d, pampered, plied with gifts, and even bribed, or else ….

It’s an old game within the Games and Salt Lake decided to play it after learning the hard way. Salt Lake bidders tried to land the IOC bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics and looked like a bunch of hicks, handing out salt water taffy and cowboy hats while Nagano was allegedly spending some $14 million on luxury lodging and gifts.

Guess who won the bid?

Salt Lake decided to play the game the next time and won the 2002 Games.

The end result of the Salt Lake bid scandal was about as satisfying as an episode of "House of Cards" and will probably never have an ending that sees the real bad guys go down.

It went something like this: IOC officials participated fully and enthusiastically in the exchange of gifts and favors, then when the whole thing was exposed, they insisted that only they (themselves) could investigate the scandal, the end result of which is they kicked out some little people (a few nameless IOC members from poor countries), re-elected their chief, Tony Samaranch, and then promised reform. The IOC was criminal, and also lawyer, judge and jury.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, the FBI, local politicians and Olympic officials — including a future presidential candidate — threw Welch and Johnson under the bus in one cowardly, disloyal, and wrongheaded attempt to make the scandal go away.

They were dead wrong.

The latest scandals are further evidence of the IOC way of doing business. It has been a corrupt organization for decades, and nothing has changed since the Salt Lake bid scandal. The IOC said it would fix itself; it didn’t.

Why should anyone expect anything different from any international sports governing body (see IOC, IAAF, FIFA).

One of the few who got it right was federal Judge David Sam, who threw the case against Welch and Johnson out of court. “In all my 40 years experience with the criminal justice system,” Sam told the courtroom, “… I have never seen a criminal case brought to trial that was so devoid of mens rea or criminal intent or evil purpose.”

Recalling a meeting he had with then-IOC president Juan Samaranch just before Salt Lake Gate became a full-blown investigation, Johnson says, “(Samaranch) told me, ‘Go back and organize the Games; this isn’t your problem.’ His view was that it (the scandal) was not a Salt Lake problem; it was an IOC problem. What made it our problem was the way it was handled here. (Utah Gov. Mike) Leavitt turned it over to an ethics committee and documents were turned over to them with no context. They had a meeting in the governor’s office and decided to blame it on Tom and Dave. And if people didn’t agree with it, he said he’s the governor and that’s the way it’s going to be. I know this from FBI transcripts.”

The IOC established the process for securing a bid and Salt Lake played along. After all the tumult of those times, after years of hand-wringing and court cases, it is clear the IOC has not changed its ways.

Email: drob@deseretnews.com