ASHBURN, Virginia — Dan Snyder, the owner of Washington Leaders, will voluntarily testify via Zoom in front of Congress Thursday morning, according to a spokesman for the House Oversight Committee.
President Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) wanted Snyder to testify under a subpoena as part of their investigation into the franchise’s workplace culture, but Snyder wanted to do so voluntarily, and therefore, not under oath. The committee eventually agreed to let him do so voluntarily.
Thursday’s casting, scheduled for 8 a.m., will be private, but the committee can release all or part of the transcript. The acknowledgment is usually made by committee staff, but other committee members can participate if they wish.
In a statement, the spokesperson said Snyder “is committed to providing full and complete testimony, and answering the committee’s questions about his knowledge and contributions to the leaders’ toxic work environment, as well as his efforts to interfere with the NFL’s internal investigation, without hiding behind nondisclosure or other confidentiality agreements.”
The statement also said that if Snyder did not meet his obligations, the committee was “prepared to compel his testimony on any unanswered questions upon his return to the United States.”
Maloney said in a letter earlier this month to Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, that she did not want Snyder to avoid answering questions by claiming he couldn’t do so because he was in violation of a nondisclosure agreement. Seymour had said in a letter to Maloney that such concerns were “unfounded”.
Snyder’s testimony comes a day before the House breaks for August recess. Maloney issued a summons to Snyder, but it was never served. Snyder stays outside and therefore cannot be served. According to Vesselfinder.com, the Snyder yacht is currently moored in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy.
Snyder told the commission that he did not want to testify before because he and his family were in Israel to celebrate the first anniversary of his mother’s death with multiple events over several weeks.
US Rangers serve subpoenas on behalf of the commission in the US, but, according to a spokesperson, the Marshal Service “has no authority to serve a congressional subpoena internationally.”
Maloney could have waited for Snyder to return to the United States and serve the subpoena at that time. If he then failed to make his statement, Congress could have despised him. At that point, Snyder could have tried in court to overturn the subpoena — a process that could have taken months. If Republicans regain control of the house after the November elections, James Comer, a senior member of the minority, said they would not pursue that investigation any longer. This means that Snyder could have avoided testifying under a subpoena or otherwise.
There is a crucial difference between testifying with a subpoena and doing so voluntarily.
“If you’re under a subpoena, you have to answer the question asked,” Dave Rapallo, director of Democratic personnel for the House Oversight Committee from 2011 to 2021, told ESPN last month. “If it’s voluntary, and you’re not on summons, you don’t.”
Several employees and former employees who participated in the NFL’s internal investigation of leaders workplace culture, which resulted in a $10 million fine in July 2021, signed nondisclosure agreements, usually called nondisclosure agreements.
Although the committee’s statement made it clear that it expected Snyder to answer questions, Rapallo said, “Snyder can say to the committee, ‘I am not allowed to answer the question because there is a nondisclosure agreement. He can claim that he cannot answer because of the non-disclosure agreement unless there is a subpoena.”
Earlier this week, attorneys for more than 40 former employees of the organization said in a statement that they wanted Snyder to waive a non-disclosure agreement for their clients to speak to the committee. Snyder released them from the NDA to speak with attorney Beth Wilkinson when she investigated the NFL franchise. They were also released to speak with Mary Jo White, who is investigating for the NFL into a new allegation of sexual misconduct by Snyder.
“If it is true that Mr. Snyder does not intend to impede witnesses’ ability to speak with the Commission, we ask him to agree to waive any non-disclosure agreement for that purpose,” attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz wrote. “This would provide much-needed relief to my clients and many other witnesses so that they can speak freely without fear of legal risk.”
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