Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced Wednesday her intent to subpoena Commanders owner Dan Snyder for a deposition next week.
"If the NFL is unwilling to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so," Maloney said. "The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders."
Maloney's announcement came during a Committee hearing focused on Washington's allegedly toxic workplace environment and Snyder's involvement in fostering that environment. Snyder was invited to the hearing but declined to participate, while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell virtually testified voluntarily.
The Committee has been investigating the Commanders and Snyder for roughly eight months.
Ahead of the Wednesday hearing, which commenced just after 11 a.m. on Capitol Hill, the Committee released a memo Maloney shared with her fellow Committee members that detailed Snyder's alleged role in "creating a hostile work environment at the Commanders" as well as described "his efforts to discredit victims and witnesses by launching a shadow investigation to influence the NFL’s internal investigation into workplace misconduct at the team."
In addition to that, the memo outlined "new evidence showing the NFL and the Commanders, contrary to their public statements, failed to act independently while the [NFL's own] internal investigation [into the Commanders] was ongoing."
In response to that memo, a spokesperson for Snyder answered with a statement.
"It is clear the outcome of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Washington Commanders was predetermined from the beginning," the spokesperson said. "The committee's decision to release a 'report' and introduce legislation prior to the hearing is proof-positive this was always going to be little more than a politically-charged show trial, not about uncovering the truth. Hopefully, the committee will utilize its resources going forward for more pressing national matters, instead of an issue a football team addressed years ago."
The primary points that the Committee disclosed along with its memo include:
- "Mr. Snyder’s former Chief Operating Officer, David Pauken, testified at a Committee deposition that when Mr. Snyder learned that a member of the team’s coaching staff had groped a public relations employee, [Mr. Snyder] refused to take action against the coach and instead directed that the victim 'stay away from the coach.'"
- "Lawyers for Mr. Snyder used their shadow investigation to create a 100-slide dossier with private emails, text messages, telephone records, and social media posts from journalists, victims, and witnesses who had made credible public accusations of harassment against the Commanders."
- "During the [Beth] Wilkinson investigation, Mr. Snyder and his lawyers sent private investigators to the homes of former cheerleaders, offered hush money to try to dissuade them from cooperating with the investigation, and gathered thousands of emails from former Commanders President Bruce Allen in an effort to 'demonstrate that Bruce Allen had created a toxic environment at the Washington Commanders.'"
Not all of the Committee members shared Maloney's desire to continue to investigate the Commanders and Snyder.
"I would ask why Congress must tackle an NFL team’s workplace," Rep. James Comer (R-K.Y.) said. "Democrats are more committed to politics than our Committee’s mission."
"The issues of the Commanders and the NFL are the last thing on Americans’ minds," Rep. Virginia Foxx (R.-N.C.) added. "This is another day where the Committee failed to do what the American people asked us to do."
In a side session with reporters outside of the hearing room, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi called the claims that the Committee should be investigating other matters "preposterous."
During his testimony, Goodell admitted that he was surprised to learn of the Committee's original decision to look into the organization's workplace and its owner because he believed that the NFL handed down "unprecedented discipline" in 2021 following Beth Wilkinson's report on the club. That report has yet to be publicized, but Snyder was fined $10 million and removed from day-to-day operations as a result of it.
"It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects: bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment, and harassment," Goodell said early on in the proceedings. "The workplace at the Commanders today bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this Committee."
One topic that the Committee's Democrats repeatedly engaged Goodell on is why he and the league have refused to release Wilkinson's work and why no written account from Wilkinson was ever requested (instead, she delivered her findings orally). In 2020, Wilkinson was tasked with investigating the then-Football Team's culture following multiple Washington Post stories that featured numerous allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
Goodell, maintaining a stance he's held when previously asked for an explanation on the matter, cited the need to protect the confidentiality of the people who have spoken about their experiences with the team, so much so that he won't pass on any findings even with redacted names.
"Redaction doesn't always work in my world," Goodell said.
In her comments to begin the hearing, Maloney criticized Snyder's choice to decline the Committee's invitation to testify.
"Rather than show up and take responsibility," she said, "he chose to skip town. Apparently Mr. Snyder is in France where he has docked his luxury yacht. … That should tell you how much respect he has for women in the workplace."
Shortly thereafter, Maloney announced the upcoming subpoena for Snyder.
"I think that the subpoena is, unfortunately, going to be given to get testimony that we should've heard today," Krishnamoorthi told reporters.