An attorney for Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder rejected the House Oversight Committee’s reasoning.
In a letter, attorney Karen Patton Seymour called the panel’s concerns that her client would withhold information if he did not testify under a subpoena “unfounded.”
On Tuesday, committee chair Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) accepted Snyder’s offer to testify via video conference on July 28, but said in a letter to Seymour that the committee would serve a subpoena and receive a response from Snyder by this afternoon.
Although the subpoena was issued, it has not been served on Snyder, who is still abroad, 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 “does not have the authority to issue congressional subpoenas internationally.”
Seymour could have accepted the subpoena on Snyder’s behalf but did not.
In October, Congress began investigating Snyder and Washington’s workplace culture under his tenure, including allegations of sexual misconduct. Nearly four months ago, the NFL concluded an investigation and fined Washington $10 million. Congress launched its investigation after complaints about the NFL’s lack of transparency in what was learned. Attorney Beth Wilkinson gave her statement orally, which led to the initial 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 for 2011-2021, there is also a difference in whether someone testifies voluntarily or under subpoena.
“If you’re under a subpoena, you have to answer the question that’s asked,” Rapallo said. “If it’s voluntary and you’re not under subpoena, you don’t.”
The group’s concern also surrounds non-disclosure agreements. Maloney wrote, “You have made it clear to committee staff that voluntary appearances exclude matters covered by nondisclosure agreements.” Maloney also asserted that Snyder has a “troubled history of using NDAs to cover up workplace misconduct.”
Seymour responded that Snyder is not subject to any NDA that “restricts his ability to share information only upon receipt of a subpoena.” He wrote that Snyder and the generals waived NDAs to allow him to cooperate with Wilkinson as part of his investigation into the NFL.
Seymour also pointed out that the committee invited him to testify voluntarily at the June 22 hearing. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified at the hearing. But Snyder declined the invitation, saying he had a prior work engagement in France; He attended an award ceremony.
“We are confident that Mr. Snyder will be able to provide full and complete testimony during his voluntary appearance,” Seymour wrote. “The July 12 letter falsely states that Mr. Snyder had previously refused to cooperate. Instead, Mr. Snyder is cooperating fully with the committee’s investigation since the committee first requested that he voluntarily appear to testify at the June 22 hearing.”
Seymour proposed two dates when Snyder would be ready to testify: July 28 and July 29, the last two days the House is in session before the August recess.
The Chiefs begin training camp on July 27. It’s not unusual for Snyder to miss the start of camp in recent years. Following the NFL’s internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace culture, he was absent last year as his wife, Tanya, assumed responsibility for the team’s day-to-day operations.
Goodell said at the NFL meetings in March that Snyder would not represent the team on a day-to-day basis “for the foreseeable future” and that they would discuss his return “at some point.” That discussion has yet to take place, according to a league source.
Seymour told the group that Snyder was unavailable for most of July because he was in Israel, marking the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death with several events.
ESPN’s Disha Thompson contributed to this report.
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