Subpoena for Daniel Snyder, ballot for Roger Goodell by the House panel

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An empty chair designated for “Mr. Snyder “addressed members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Wednesday’s hearing on hostile workplace culture of Washington commanders, and soon President Carolyn B. Maloney (DNY) clarified the symbolism. , announcing plans to issue a subpoena to force owner Daniel Snyder to provide sworn testimony next week.

“Instead of showing up and taking responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip town,” Maloney said during the hearing, noting that Snyder’s yacht was in France, with the owner allegedly aboard rather than Capitol Hill. . “This should tell you how much respect he has for women in the workplace.”

With Snyder away, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asked questions for 2.5 hours about his understanding of the sexual harassment allegations widespread in the team’s workplace under Snyder, as well as the league’s response to them. Asked to characterize what he had learned about the commanders’ environment, Goodell, testifying from a distance from New York, said he had not seen a culture “anywhere” as bad as Washington’s during his four decades in the NFL. .

But Goodell remained steadfast in his refusal to release the results of a league-sponsored commander investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, reiterating that the NFL had promised confidentiality to 150 former employees who described incidents of sexual harassment and degrading treatment.

Daniel Snyder conducted “shadow investigations” on the accusers, the panel notes

Several panel members found Goodell’s logic unsatisfactory.

“It’s fake,” Rep Jackie Speier (D-California) told Goodell. “The survivors begged you to release the report.”

Rep Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) Later asked Goodell why the names of those who testified but asked for anonymity could not be drawn. Raskin noted that this is how the NFL handled privacy concerns by publishing a 148-page report on harassment in the Miami Dolphins organization in 2014.

“Editing doesn’t always work in my world,” Goodell replied.

Goodell said the NFL had disciplined Snyder appropriately following his investigation, noting the $ 10 million fine imposed on the team and Snyder’s break from running daily affairs. Goodell also praised the organization’s transformation in the wake of the allegations.

“To be clear,” said Goodell, whose face was projected onto large screens in the Capitol Hill hearing room, “the commanders’ workplace today bears no resemblance to the workplace that was described to this committee “.

Rep Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) Asked Goodell if Snyder or the team had informed the league about a 2009 sexual assault allegation against Snyder that led to a $ 1.6 million deal with an ex. employee. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday details of an employee’s claim that Snyder sexually assaulted her during a flight on her private plane in April 2009, three months before the team agreed to pay the confidential settlement. In a 2020 court filing, Snyder called the woman’s claims “without merit.”

Goodell said: “I don’t remember having informed [the league] than that, no.

The hybrid proceeding, with some lawmakers in the courtroom and others taking part at a distance, was characterized by acrimony, strong partisan division and periodic indiscipline, with Maloney at one point repeatedly banging his gavel in a futile attempt to to silence Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who repeatedly asked, “What is the purpose of this hearing?” As Maloney attempted to move on, Donalds said, “You can beat the gavel all you want, but I don’t really care.”

Exclusive: Document reveals details of 2009 sexual assault charge against Daniel Snyder

According to Maloney, the value of the investigation is twofold: highlighting one of the nation’s most visible workplaces (the Washington NFL team) as an example of how its executives should not treat employees and draft legislation to protect all American workers from similar abuses.

“For more than two decades, Dan Snyder has refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created,” Maloney said in his opening statement. “Even the NFL has failed to protect these women. Now I believe it is up to Congress to protect them and millions more like them. “

But for Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), A member of the minority party in the jury rankings, and many of his Republican colleagues, the investigation represents a waste of taxpayers ‘money and committee members’ time.

“We will hold hearings and oversee the crises affecting Americans today: 40-year inflation, skyrocketing gas prices, out of formula milk, a violent border crisis, escalating fentanyl overdoses and our stock market soaring,” he said. said Comer.

Rep Virginia Foxx (RNC) echoed Comer’s comment.

“As we sit here today, families are wondering how to pay for gas, groceries and formula milk for their babies,” Foxx said, calling the commanders ‘business “the last thing on Americans’ minds.”

Rep Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.) announced a subpoena for the owner of the Washington Commanders during a June 22 hearing investigating the team’s “toxic” workplace. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post / Reuters)

Wednesday’s hearing was the next step in an eight-month investigation spurred by the NFL’s refusal to disclose the details of Wilkinson’s findings.

It was preceded by the committee’s release of some 700 pages of documents relating to his work: depositions, transcribed interviews, and a 29-page summary detailing how Snyder, through a team of lawyers and private investigators, undertook a ‘”shadow investigation” in an attempt to discredit its accusers and deflect blame for rampant misconduct in the team’s workplace. At the heart of that “shadow investigation”, according to the committee’s findings, was the creation of a ” dossier “illustrated with 100 slides targeting former employers, their lawyers and Washington Post reporters whom Snyder perceived as enemies.

The committee also found that Snyder led an effort to locate derogatory information about former team president Bruce Allen that he could use to convince the NFL and Wilkinson that Allen, not Snyder, was responsible for the team’s toxic culture. Snyder fired Allen after 10 years in December 2019.

To that end, attorneys working for Snyder sifted through more than 400,000 emails in Allen’s idle team account, looking for anything “inappropriate,” then shared that information with the NFL and Wilkinson. He also hired private detectives to visit former cheerleaders’ homes and ask if they were aware of any “sexual misconduct” involving Allen.

Since the first report of rampant sexual harassment within the team in July 2020, Snyder has portrayed himself as the victim of an orchestrated plot to defame and extort him. He also said that his only failure as an NFL owner was being “too direct”, adding that once he realized the problems, he fired all the bad actors.

Maloney closed the hearing with a message for Snyder.

“We will not be put off by billionaire owners and political positions,” he said. “The victims are demanding answers and we are all asking for justice.”

Afterward, committee members said they would move quickly to secure Snyder’s testimony and that he would be punished quickly if he refused.

“Keeping your nose at Congress is not a good strategy,” said Krishnamoorthi, who helped lead the investigation.

Snyder twice declined the committee’s invitation to testify, saying through his attorney that he had a “long-standing business conflict” overseas on Wednesday and had additional concerns about due process and fairness. He indicated that before agreeing to appear before the committee he wanted a guarantee that all questions put to him would be limited to the team’s “historical culture”. He also asked, through his lawyer, the identities of all those who spoke about him or the team on the committee and the substance of the interviews.

Speier predicted that Snyder will refuse to testify and the House will vote to disdain him from Congress.

“He’s arrogant enough to be probably scorned,” Speier said. “This is my guess.”

Nicki Jhabvala contributed to this report.

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