House Oversight Committee Chair Dan Snyder Malik has pleaded with Washington leaders to reconsider his decision not to testify at next week’s hearing, also saying the reasons for rejecting their call were based on inaccuracies.
President Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) sent a six-page letter to Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patten Seymour, saying that Snyder could actually testify at the June 22 hearing, as would NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Maloney gave Snyder a 9 a.m. deadline Monday to change his mind after what she called “extra fixtures”.
Congress began investigating Snyder in October, nearly four months after the NFL concluded its own investigation. The Washington League fined $10 million. Despite this, Congress opened its investigation after complaints about the NFL’s lack of transparency in what was learned. Attorney Beth Wilkinson submitted her report orally, which resulted in the initial fine.
During a roundtable session in February, a former employee alleged that Snyder put a hand on her leg under the table at a work dinner and that he tried to force her into his limousine.
On Wednesday, Seymour sent a five-page letter to the committee explaining why Snyder would refrain from testifying.
Seymour said Snyder would be out of the country on a long-planned business trip. She also said Snyder had previously requested documentation.
But Maloney wrote that Seymour’s letter contained “a number of assertions and demands which are inaccurate but contain no valid reason for Mr. Snyder’s refusal to attend”.
Maloney said the committee offered to accommodate Snyder’s plans to attend the awards ceremony in France by allowing him to appear remotely.
“Mr. Snyder has not identified any scheduling challenges that would prevent him from testifying before the commission while abroad,” Maloney wrote.
She said Snyder didn’t say he couldn’t come back before the hearing, if he’d prefer to testify in person. Maloney also said they gave him three weeks’ notice, which the letter says is beyond the usual time frame.
“Any suggestion that the committee treated Mr. Snyder unfairly is unfounded, particularly given that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell agreed to testify voluntarily at the same hearing,” Maloney said.
She wrote that Snyder’s demands went beyond what the commission had done in the past. For example, she said, they asked to know the identity of other witnesses who testified about the team and/or Snyder — and whether those witnesses made allegations about the team or Snyder. They also wanted to know the details of these allegations.
Maloney said that if Snyder agreed to testify, they would be willing to provide copies of NFL-produced team documents that the committee expects to use during the hearing. She also said that they would respond to Snyder’s request to receive copies of documents that committee members intend to use in their interrogations. Maloney said the commission was not obligated to provide those documents but would do so if Snyder agreed to testify.
Maloney’s letter stated that Seymour was wrong in saying that any alleged misconduct occurred “more than a decade in the past”. Maloney cited the testimony of a former employee who said she was sexually harassed in 2019.
Washington fired several employees after the Washington Post exposed allegations of sexual harassment in the summer of 2020. Others who had also been accused of sexual harassment had already left the organization or resigned that summer.
Maloney also said that Snyder could testify despite other ongoing investigations, which was another reason for Snyder’s reluctance to testify, according to his attorney’s letter. The NFL opened another investigation after the former employee’s allegations in February. Prosecutors in Virginia and Washington, DC are also looking into allegations of financial wrongdoing. The team rejected these allegations, presenting their case in a 105-page letter with signed affidavits that were delivered to the Federal Trade Commission.
“Congress has long investigated matters subject to parallel proceedings,” Maloney wrote.
Finally, Maloney rejected Snyder’s claim that the commission had failed to provide additional information about the nature and scope of the investigation. She referred to several cases in which they identified their purpose. Republicans on the committee rejected the reasons for the investigation.
By not testifying, Maloney said Snyder refused to “accept accountability for his actions because of the culture he nurtured within his team.”
She said Snyder’s refusal to testify conflicts with his repeated commitments to cooperate with the commission. That, she said, “would cast doubt on your assertion that leaders are now a model for how to make extraordinary improvements in workplace culture.”
Earlier today, Maloney introduced two pieces of legislation based on Congress’ investigation of the leaders. The first bill, called the Workplace Misconduct Accountability Act, focuses on what it described as the abuse of non-disclosure agreements.
The other bill, called the Professional Image Protection Act, stems from allegations that videos were created for Snyder, which show footage of the body parts of Washington fans while on location while taking a photo. According to the bill, it will give employees a say in how and when their photos are used for commercial purposes.