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Commanders investigation: Snyder, Goodell asked to testify in front of Congress

Members of the House Oversight Committee want answers from the Commanders owner and NFL Commissioner about allegations of workplace misconduct.

WASHINGTON — Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are being asked to testify in front of Congress about workplace misconduct allegations within the Commanders' organization, and the NFL's response to those complaints. 

The House Oversight Committee has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, June 22, during which time it will "examine the NFL’s handling of allegations of workplace misconduct, the NFL’s role in setting and enforcing standards across the League, and legislative reforms needed to address these issues across the NFL and other workplaces," according to a statement released to WUSA9.

RELATED: NFL to conduct investigation into Dan Snyder sexual harassment allegations

 

RELATED: 'Serious threat to their wellbeing' | Law professors explore ramifications of allegations levied against Commanders

"We must have transparency and accountability, which is why we are calling on Mr. Goodell and Mr. Snyder to answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months," said Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). "The hearing will explore how Congress can act to prevent employers from silencing victims of workplace misconduct and ensure that what happened at the Commanders organization does not happen again.”

The House Oversight Committee first began investigating allegations of workplace misconduct and sexual harassment within the Commanders organization in October of 2021.

"For seven months, the Committee has been stonewalled by NDAs and other tools to evade accountability,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Il). “Mr. Snyder and Mr. Goodell need to appear before the Committee to address these issues and answer our questions about the pervasive workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders, and how the NFL addressed these issues.”

Both the Commanders and NFL released similar statements Wednesday which neither confirmed or denied whether either man would attend the hearing. 

“The Commanders have assisted the NFL in cooperating with all prior requests from the House Oversight and Reform Committee," read a statement from the team released to WUSA9. "We look forward to responding directly to the Committee’s invitation in a timely manner.”

"We received the Committee’s invitation this morning and will respond directly in a timely manner," said NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email to WUSA9. "The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the Committee’s lengthy investigation of the Washington Commanders, including by producing more than 460,000 pages of documents and responding to numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the Committee’s staff."

Several of the former Commanders employees who spoke at the Committee's "roundtable discussion" in February have retained attorneys. 

"We are pleased the House Oversight Committee has invited Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell to testify in front of the Committee," said attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz. "We hope they will demonstrate the same courage as our clients and agree to testify. Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell have a lot to answer for.”

The effort to bring Snyder and Goodell to testify is highly partisan. Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee have shown disdain for the investigation. 

"There is nothing Congress can do to remedy any of the specific allegations made," said GOP Committee Spokesman Austin Hacker. "If Congress can’t provide a solution, why are Democrats wasting valuable resources and scheduling a hearing? This entire charade appears to be an attempt to gain cheap headlines, not solutions.” 

The Washington Commanders and NFL faced a February deadline to deliver tens of thousands of documents related to the investigation into the team's toxic workplace culture to the House Oversight Committee. As of Tuesday, the committee confirmed it did receive additional documents from the National Football League and they are being reviewed.

A spokesperson from the House Oversight Committee released a statement regarding the documents. 

“The Committee has received additional documents from the NFL, which we are currently reviewing. We have been clear that the NFL must stop hiding the results of the Wilkinson investigation and fully comply with the Committee's requests, or the Committee will have no choice but to take further action," the statement said. 

"The Chairs are committed to uncovering the truth about what happened within the Washington Commanders organization and how allegations were handled by the NFL in order to inform legislative efforts to make workplaces safe for everyone."

New revelations came to light earlier this month about alleged sexual harassment experienced by Commanders employees, during Congressional testimony.

RELATED: Congressional committee confirms it received more Washington Commanders investigation documents from NFL

The House Oversight Committee said it has the means to force the NFL and the Commanders to turn over the written investigation report, which has never been made public.

A new allegation from a former Commanders cheerleader was made earlier this year during a Congressional committee roundtable against team owner Dan Snyder. Snyder denied it. But the NFL has pledged to investigate it.

RELATED: New allegations leveled against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D- DC) called the testimony heard so far "informative" and "helpful."

Norton, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, said it’s concerning that the team and NFL had a legal agreement not to make the results of their investigation public.

"In order to pair up the testimony of the witnesses we received last week with the written report, we will need the full cooperation of all involved and that means the NFL and Dan Snyder, and all of them who are holding back the remaining documents," Norton said.

WUSA9 Sports Director Darren Haynes reported on Feb. 10 that the NFL blamed the Commanders for impeding access to many of the documents.

A lawyer for Snyder told Haynes the team has never prevented the NFL from obtaining quote “non-privileged documents.”

Norton said if the organization doesn’t comply with sending all documents, the Committee will force the issue.

"Our oversight committee is a committee of the congress. And we do have subpoena power," Norton said. "I don’t think we should have to use that. But we will get these documents one way or the other."

According to new reports from Pro Football Focus and 106.7 The Fan, the lawyer behind the investigation recommended that the team be sold from Snyder’s ownership. But the documents have never been made public before.

RELATED: Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder hires independent firm to investigate sexual harassment claims

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