ASHBURN, Va. — Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Commanders, will testify voluntarily via Zoom before Congress Thursday morning, according to a spokesman for the House Oversight Committee.
Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) wanted Snyder to testify under a subpoena as part of her 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.
Testimony Thursday, scheduled for 8 a.m., will be private, but the committee could release all or part of the transcript. The deposition is usually conducted by committee staff, but other committee members may attend if they wish.
In a statement, the spokesman said Snyder “is committed to providing a full and complete testimony and answering the committee’s questions regarding his knowledge of and contribution to the commanders’ toxic work environment, as well as his efforts to interfere with the NFL’s internal investigation.” , to answer without hiding behind non-disclosure or other confidentiality agreements.”
The statement also said that if Snyder fails to meet his obligations, the committee “stands ready to compel his testimony to any unanswered questions upon his return to the United States.”
Maloney said in a letter to Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, earlier this month that she didn’t want Snyder to avoid answering questions, claiming he couldn’t do so because it violated 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 of Representatives goes into its August recess. Maloney had issued a subpoena for Snyder, but it was never served. Snyder remains abroad and therefore cannot be served. According to website vesselfinder.com, Snyder’s yacht is currently moored in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy.
Snyder had told the committee that he did not want to testify beforehand because he and his family were in Israel to mark the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death with multiple events over several weeks.
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.”
Maloney could have waited for Snyder to return to the United States and served the subpoena at that time. If he then failed to testify, Congress might have despised him. At that point, Snyder could have tried in court to dismiss the subpoena – a process that could have taken months. If Republicans regain control of the House after November’s election, James Comer, the minority’s most senior member, said they would not pursue that investigation any further. That means Snyder could have avoided ever testifying under a subpoena or otherwise.
There is a crucial difference between testifying by subpoena and testifying voluntarily.
“If you’re under a subpoena, you have to answer the question that’s asked,” Dave Rapallo, the Democratic staff director of the House Oversight Committee from 2011 to 2021, told ESPN last month. “If it’s voluntary and you’re not under subpoena, don’t do it.”
Many of the employees and former employees involved in the NFL’s internal investigation into commanders’ workplace culture that resulted in a $10 million fine in July 2021 signed non-disclosure agreements, commonly called NDAs.
Although the committee’s statement made it clear that Snyder should answer the questions, Rapallo said, “Snyder could tell the committee, ‘I’m not allowed to answer the question because there’s a non-disclosure agreement in the NDA, unless there’s a subpoena. “
Earlier this week, the attorney for more than 40 former employees of the organization said in a statement that they would like Snyder to waive the NDA so their clients can speak to the committee. Snyder fired her from the NDA to speak with attorney Beth Wilkinson while she was investigating the franchise for the NFL. They were also fired by them to speak with Mary Jo White, who is investigating a new allegation of alleged sexual misconduct by Snyder for the NFL.
“If it is true that Mr. Snyder does not intend to interfere with the ability of witnesses to speak to the committee, we ask that he waive any NDA to that end,” attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz wrote. “It would provide much-needed comfort for my clients and many other witnesses to speak freely without fear of legal jeopardy.”
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34305550/washington-commanders-owner-dan-snyder-testify-voluntarily-congress Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder will testify voluntarily before Congress