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NFL surrenders some Washington documents to Congress, but Congress wants more

Mike Florio explains what could happen if Congress subpoenas the Washington Commanders investigation records and what could happen to the team.

The push and pull between the NFL, the Washington Commanders, and Congress continues, regarding the effort to get more information about the investigation regarding sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct within the organization.

Recently, the league surrendered some documents generate by the probe to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform. But not enough to satisfy the effort for transparency.

“We have been clear that the NFL must stop hiding the results of the [Beth] Wilkinson investigation and fully comply with the Committee’s requests, or the Committee will have no choice but to take further action,” the committee said in a statement issued to the Washington Post. “The Chairs are committed to uncovering the truth about what happened within the Washington Commanders organization and how allegations were handled by the NFL in order to inform legislative efforts to make workplaces safe for everyone.”

The question becomes whether the Committee will hold a full-blown hearing, complete with subpoenas for testimony and documents. The league and the team will continue to try to hide key materials by invoking the protections of the attorney-client privilege and/or the work product doctrine. Then, the question will be whether and to what extent those privileges will prevail.

Ultimately, the committee should seek to hear from Wilkinson herself. She conducted the 10-month investigation. She prepared a report that the league didn’t want. The report, if she’d been asked to deliver it to the league, would have recommended that the league force owner Daniel Snyder to sell. If/when those facts ever officially come to light, it will become much more difficult for Snyder to avoid that outcome -- regardless of what happens with the looming investigation of Tiffani Johnston’s allegations made two weeks ago before a hybrid roundtable hearing conducted by the committee.