WASHINGTON - A congressional committee will look into Sammy Sosa's denial that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs in light of a report that he tested positive for a PED in 2003.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., said the committee takes seriously suggestions that a witness had been misleading.

Towns said in a statement yesterday that he will determine the appropriate steps following a review of the matter.

In 2005, Sosa told Congress that he had never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Sosa tested positive 2 years before his appearance at a House hearing.

Former Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who was chairman of the Government Reform Committee at the time of the 2005 hearing, said he wasn't surprised about the report that Sosa tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

"In his testimony before us, he was very careful," Davis told the Associated Press in a telephone interview yesterday. "He said he never did illegal drugs. Steroids were legal in [Sosa's native] Dominican Republic." *