ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder informed the House Oversight Committee by letter that he would not be testifying at their June 22 hearing, saying he would be out of the country.
It had long been expected that Snyder would refuse to testify. In the four-page letter, attorney Karen Patton Seymour said Snyder was willing to testify but the committee “is unwilling to consider changing the hearing date.”
The letter said Snyder had “a long-standing business dispute related to Commanders and was out of the country on the first and only date proposed by the committee for the hearing.”
According to a spokesperson for the committee, “The committee intends to move forward with this hearing. We are currently reviewing Mr. Snyder’s letter and will respond to it.”
Congress began investigating Snyder and Washington’s work culture under his leadership in October. It is also investigating Snyder’s allegations of sexual misconduct, an accusation made by former employee Tiffani Johnston during a panel discussion before the committee.
On June 1, the House Oversight Committee invited Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to testify at the June 22 hearing. It is uncertain whether Goodell will testify. The committee could always choose to change the date of the hearing, as sometimes happens in less publicized situations. He could also issue a subpoena to Snyder.
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent at least 40 former Commanders employees, said in a statement that “We, along with our clients, are disappointed but not surprised that Dan Snyder does not have the courage to appear voluntarily. We fully await the Committee will issue a subpoena to compel Mr. Snyder to appear. It is time that Mr. Snyder learned that he is not above the law.
According to the letter, Snyder’s attorneys responded five days later asking the committee to provide more information about the scope of the investigation. He also said the committee would not guarantee that questions directed at Snyder would be limited to the organization’s historical workplace issues.
The committee would also not agree to provide copies of documents on which “committee members intend to question Mr. Snyder,” which Seymour described in the letter as a courtesy “I understand is often extended to witnesses in congressional hearings.
The letter also said Snyder’s lawyers had requested “basic information” about Johnston’s allegations – “such as when and where it supposedly happened, and who else was present.” According to the letter, the committee declined to provide the information. Snyder denied the charges.
The NFL also hired attorney Mary Jo White to investigate Johnston’s claims. The league fined Washington $10 million on July 1, 2021, following its investigation into workplace culture under Snyder.
Attorneys General in Virginia and Washington, DC are investigating allegations of financial impropriety alleged by a former employee. The team responded with a 105-page letter with signed affidavits refuting the charges.