The hearing is scheduled for June 22 at 10 a.m. at the Capitol.
“[G]Given the Committee’s refusal to grant my request to delay the hearing and its reluctance to recognize Mr. Snyder’s interests in a manner consistent with fundamental fairness and due process, Mr. Snyder does not is unable to attend the hearing the committee has scheduled for June 22, 2022,” attorney Karen Patton Seymour wrote in the letter.
“Mr. Snyder, along with Ms. Snyder and the team, remain fully prepared to cooperate with the Committee in all other respects, including continuing to discuss reasonable requests regarding his potential appearance, and providing information to the Committee on remarkable changes undertaken by Commanders to improve and enhance the experience of all Commanders employees.”
It remains unclear whether Goodell responded to the committee’s request. Several people familiar with the situation said they expected Goodell to testify.
“The committee intends to move forward with this hearing,” a committee spokesperson said. “We are currently reviewing Mr. Snyder’s letter and will respond to it.”
The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
David Rapallo, the committee’s former staff director and current associate professor at Georgetown Law School, said “it’s rare” for a CEO or any subject of a congressional investigation to simply decline an invitation to a hearing. He noted that the committee had heard from several CEOs of pharmaceutical companies, fossil fuel companies and other industry leaders testify in the past.
“A congressional hearing is a very serious event,” Rapallo said.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys who represent more than 40 former team employees, asked the committee to issue a subpoena to compel Snyder’s testimony.
“We, along with our clients, are disappointed but not surprised that Dan Snyder does not have the courage to appear voluntarily,” Banks and Katz said in a statement. “We expect the committee to issue a subpoena to compel Mr. Snyder to appear. It’s time for Mr. Snyder to learn that he is not above the law.
Wednesday’s letter from Snyder’s attorney was addressed to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), chair of the committee, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), chair of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy.
In the letter, Seymour, Snyder’s attorney, wrote that “although the committee indicated that the hearing would be ‘focused on’ historical issues of workplace culture, I have been advised that the committee would provide no assurance that questions addressed to Mr. Snyder would be limited to those matters, given the wide latitude given to members to ask questions beyond the topics identified by the Committee.
Seymour cited a “long-running CO-related business dispute” for Snyder and his plans to be out of the country by the June 22 court date; and concerns about “fundamental notions of fairness and due process” issues, given the committee’s refusal to respond to requests for additional information and documents that Snyder’s attorney listed in a June 6 letter. to committee counsel and discussed in a follow-up conversation the following day. daytime.
Seymour also wrote that the committee “would not consider my offer to suggest another knowledgeable witness” to attend next week’s hearing on behalf of the team.
After reviewing Seymour’s letter, Rapallo cited the committee’s offer to participate by Zoom as an effort by the panel to make an accommodation and said that in such circumstances, the committee usually tries one more time to find an accommodation. before issuing a subpoena to compel participation. If a subsequent conversation doesn’t produce an agreement, Rapallo said, a subpoena could be issued ahead of next week’s hearing, after the chairman consults with other committee members.
He characterized the assurances and information Seymour was seeking for Snyder as an apparent request “for special treatment that other witnesses do not receive”.
Daniel Snyder and Roger Goodell have requested to appear at the Congressional hearing
The committee made its demands to Snyder and Goodell in separate letters sent June 1 by Maloney and Krishnamoorthi. In those letters, the committee asked for answers by June 6. A spokesperson for the committee said last week that the committee was “in communication” with the NFL and commanders.
The committee’s June 1 letters said the hearing “will address the toxic workplace culture of Washington commanders and the handling of this matter by the National Football League (NFL). It will also examine the role of the NFL in setting and enforcing standards across the League, which sets an example for other American workplaces.
The committee’s investigation also uncovered allegations of financial improprieties involving the team and Snyder.
There is a strong partisan divide among committee members over the merits of the inquiry.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky), the ranking member, called it Wednesday a “sham investigation” and a “blatant waste of taxpayer-funded resources.”
“The Oversight and Reform Committee’s sole mission is to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the federal government,” Comer wrote in a statement. “From the start, the Democrats on the committee weaponized their power and pushed a unilateral investigation into a private company unrelated to the federal government. This whole charade is no doubt an attempt to distract the American people from President Biden’s self-inflicted crises. »
The committee swears all witnesses before they testify at hearings. Additionally, a separate law makes it a crime to lie to a congressional committee.
Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team, told the committee during a February 3 congressional roundtable that Snyder harassed her at a team dinner, putting his hand on her thigh and pressing her towards his limo. She was one of six former employees who appeared at the roundtable to talk about their experiences working for the team.
Snyder called the accusations leveled directly against him “outright lies.”
The NFL is conducting its second investigation into the team. This review is led by attorney Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The NFL said it would release the findings of White’s investigation.
Following an earlier investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson into allegations of sexual harassment within the organization, the NFL announced in July 2021 that the team had been fined $10 million and that Snyder’s wife, Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, would take on the responsibility of overseeing the franchise. daily operations for an indefinite period.
Several owners said at the league’s quarterly meeting last month that if the latest allegations were substantiated by White’s investigation, they would support a meaningful penalty for Snyder imposed by the NFL, possibly a significant suspension. Several owners said they were unaware of any effort to determine the level of support to remove Snyder from his team’s ownership. Such a decision would require 24 votes among the 32 NFL teams.
Some NFL owners back ‘hard suspension’, fearing it could force Snyder
The allegations of financial irregularities were detailed in a 20-page letter sent in April by the committee to the Federal Trade Commission. That letter detailed the allegations made by Jason Friedman, a former vice president of sales and customer service who worked for the team for 24 years. According to the letter, Friedman accused the team of withholding up to $5 million in refundable deposits from season ticket holders and also of hiding money that was supposed to be shared among NFL owners.
The commanders denied committing any financial irregularities.
The offices of Attorneys General Jason S. Miyares (R) of Virginia and Karl A. Racine (D) of the District of Columbia said they were conducting their own investigations.