The House Oversight and Reform Committee has been “in communication” with the NFL and the Washington Commanders regarding its request that Commissioner Roger Goodell and owner Dan Snyder appear at a hearing set for later this month, a spokesperson for the panel said Tuesday.
Last week, House Democrats leading the committee requested that Goodell and Snyder testify at a June 22 hearing. In letters sent to each of them, Goodell and Snyder were given a Monday deadline to confirm their participation in the matter.
Neither the league nor the Commanders said last week whether the men would participate. Instead, the league and the Commanders both said they would reply in a “timely manner” and noted their past efforts to cooperate with the committee’s probe.
The committee’s statement Tuesday did not specify whether its invitation was accepted or rejected. The Commanders declined to comment. The league did not respond to a request for one.
By only sending letters to Goodell and Snyder, the House Oversight Committee did not issue subpoenas. But Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois Democrat, told ESPN that if Goodell and Snyder rejected the invitations, then “all options” would be on the table — including subpoenas.
Tensions between the committee, the league and the Commanders have already been high throughout the panel’s months-long probe. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney said in a statement last week that the hearing was scheduled in part to “answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months.”
The committee launched its probe last October after the league faced renewed backlash for its investigation into the Commanders’ workplace misconduct. Since then, the sides have clashed over what documents should be included as part of the probe — with the committee setting deadlines for the sides to comply. In February, the league blamed the Commanders for blocking access to documents on a third-party server in a letter to the committee. The Commanders pushed back against the assertion.
Both the Commanders and the league have said they’ve turned over hundreds of thousands of documents to the committee.
The scheduled hearing for June 22 would be the committee’s second related to its probe. In February, the committee hosted former Washington employees at a congressional roundtable and former cheerleader Tiffani Johnston publicly accused Snyder of making an unwanted advance at a work dinner in 2005 or 2006. Johnston told members of Congress that Snyder inappropriately touched her thigh underneath a dinner table and later tried to coax her into his limo. Snyder strongly denied the allegations, but they caused the NFL to launch another investigation into the Commanders.
The House’s investigation also uncovered allegations that the Commanders committed financial improprieties like holding out at least $5 million in refundable security deposits from season ticket holders. Members of the committee referred the allegations to the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from Virginia, Maryland and the District. The Commanders denied the allegations, saying they came from a former disgruntled employee.
Maloney said this month’s hearing will examine “how Congress can act to prevent employers from silencing victims of workplace misconduct.” The hearing will also look at the use of nondisclosure agreements.
“We must have transparency and accountability,” Maloney said.
• Matthew Paras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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