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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder’s attorney rejected the House Supervisory Committee’s reasoning for wanting him to testify during a subpoena later this month and reiterated that he would do so voluntarily.
In a letter, attorney Karen Patton Seymour called the committee’s concerns that her client would withhold information if not testified during a subpoena “unfounded.”
On Tuesday, committee chairman Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) accepted Snyder’s offer to testify on July 28 via video conference, but said in a letter to Seymour that the committee would issue a subpoena and wanted a response from Snyder no later than 6 p.m.
Although the subpoena was issued, it was not served on Snyder, who is still abroad, several 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 summons on Snyder’s behalf, but has not done so.
In October, Congress began investigating Snyder and Washington’s workplace culture under his ownership, including allegations of sexual misconduct. About four months earlier, the NFL ended an investigation and fined Washington $ 10 million. Congress opened its investigation following complaints of lack of transparency on the part of the NFL about what was being learned. Attorney Beth Wilkinson submitted her report orally, leading to the first fine.
There is a difference between someone testifying voluntarily or during a subpoena, according to Dave Rapallo, Georgetown University’s director of the Federal Legislative Clinic and the Democratic Chief of Staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform from 2011 to 2021.
“If you are under subpoena, answer the question asked,” Rapallo said. “If it’s voluntary and you’re not in subpoena, you do not.”
The committee’s concern also concerned confidentiality agreements. Maloney wrote that “you have made it clear to the committee’s staff that a voluntary action would preclude matters covered by confidentiality agreements.” Maloney also claimed that Snyder has a “disturbing history of using NDAs to cover up fraud in the workplace.”
Seymour responded by saying that Snyder is not subject to any NDA that “conditions his ability to share information solely upon receipt of a subpoena.” She wrote that Snyder and the commanders waived the NDAs to allow collaboration with Wilkinson as part of her investigation for the NFL.
Seymour also pointed out 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 job in France; he participated in an award ceremony.
“We are confident that Mr. Snyder will be able to give full and complete testimony during his voluntary performance,” Seymour wrote. “The letter of 12 July also erroneously indicates that Mr Snyder has previously refused to cooperate. On the contrary, since the committee first requested that he voluntarily appear to testify at the hearing on 22 June, Mr Snyder has been fully obliged to cooperate in the Committee’s inquiry. “
Seymour suggested two dates that Snyder would be willing to testify: July 28 and July 29, the last two days Parliament is in session before taking a break in August.
The commanders begin training camp on July 27th. It has not been unusual for Snyder to miss the start of the camp in recent years. He did not attend last year when his wife, Tanya, took responsibility for the day-to-day running of the team following the NFL’s internal investigation into sexual misconduct and workplace culture allegations.
At the NFL meetings in March, Goodell said Snyder would not represent the team on a daily basis in the “foreseeable future” and that they would discuss his return “at some point.” According to a league source, that discussion has not yet taken place.
Seymour told the committee that Snyder was unavailable for most of July because he was in Israel to observe the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death with several events.
ESPN’s Tisha Thompson contributed to this report.