Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder’s attorney dismissed the House Oversight Committee’s reasoning for him to testify under a subpoena later this month, reiterating that he would do so voluntarily.
In a letter, attorney Karen Patton Seymour called the committee’s concerns that her client would withhold information unless he testified under a subpoena “unfounded.”
On Tuesday, committee chair Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) accepted Snyder’s offer to testify via videoconference on July 28, but said in a letter to Seymour that the committee would issue a subpoena and wanted one by noon today Response from Snyder.
Although the subpoena was issued, it was not served on Snyder, who is still overseas, multiple sources said. U.S. Marshals serve subpoenas on behalf of the committee in the United States, but according to a spokesman, the Marshals Service “has no authority to serve a congressional subpoena internationally.”
Seymour could accept the subpoena on Snyder’s behalf, but has not done so.
In October, Congress began investigating the work culture of Snyder and Washington on its estate, including allegations of sexual misconduct. About four months earlier, the NFL had completed an investigation and fined Washington $10 million. Congress began its investigation after complaints were raised about the NFL’s lack of transparency about the findings. Attorney Beth Wilkinson made her report orally, which resulted in the first fine.
According to Dave Rapallo, director of the Federal Legislation Clinic at Georgetown University and the Democratic staff director of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform from 2011 to 2021, there is a difference between testifying voluntarily and testifying under a subpoena.
“If you’re under a subpoena, you have to answer the question asked,” Rapallo said. “If it’s voluntary and you’re not under a subpoena, don’t do it.”
The Committee’s concerns also related to non-disclosure agreements. Maloney wrote that “You made it clear to the committee staff that appearing voluntarily would preclude matters covered by non-disclosure agreements.” Maloney also claimed that Snyder had a “disturbing history of using non-disclosure agreements to cover up workplace misconduct.” .
Seymour responded by stating that Snyder is not subject to a non-disclosure agreement that “conditions his ability to disclose information only upon receipt of a subpoena.” She wrote that Snyder and the Commanders waived the NDAs to allow working with Wilkinson as part of their investigations for the NFL.
Seymour also noted that the committee had invited him to testify voluntarily at a June 22 hearing. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified at the hearing. But Snyder declined the invitation, saying he had a previous work engagement in France; He attended an award ceremony.
“We are confident that Mr. Snyder will be able to provide a full statement during his voluntary appearance,” Seymour wrote. “The July 12 letter also incorrectly suggests that Mr. Snyder has previously refused to cooperate. On the contrary, since the committee first asked him to appear voluntarily to testify at the hearing on June 22, Mr. Snyder has been fully committed to cooperating with the committee’s investigation.”
Seymour suggested two dates on which Snyder would be willing to testify: July 28 and July 29, the last two days the House of Representatives will meet before it goes on recess in August.
Commanders begin training camp on July 27th. It wasn’t uncommon for Snyder to miss the start of camp in recent years. He didn’t participate last year because his wife, Tanya, assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the team following the NFL’s internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and work culture.
At NFL meetings in March, Goodell said Snyder won’t be representing the team on a daily basis for the “foreseeable future” and that they would discuss his return “eventually.” According to a league source, that discussion hasn’t taken place yet.
Seymour told the committee that Snyder was unavailable for most of July because he was in Israel to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death with numerous events.
ESPN’s Tisha Thompson contributed to this report.