House Panel claims Commanders owner Dan Snyder promoted a toxic workplace and “conducted a shadow investigation” aimed at prosecutors

Maloney said Snyder “fired women but not men who engaged with other employees while defending male leaders accused of sexual harassment,” according to testimony from former top executives during the panel’s eight-month investigation into commanders’ culture and the NFL’s response.

The New York Democrat said Snyder sent private investigators to former cheerleaders’ homes, “offered quiet money to buy their silence,” created a “dossier” with communications from journalists, lawyers and former employees who accused the team of harassment, and tried to blame . former team president Bruce Allen for the team’s problems.

“The NFL was aware of his actions, but failed to stop him,” Maloney said.

Snyder refused to testify during the hearing, but Maloney announced that she intended to issue a subpoena to force his testimony next week. A spokesman for Snyder said the hearing was “a little more than a politically charged spectacle, not about uncovering the truth.”

“It is clear that the outcome of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation of the Washington Commanders was predetermined from the beginning,” Snyder’s spokesman said.

Last year, following an internal investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the National Football League fined the team $ 10 million, and Snyder gave control of the franchise’s daily operations to his wife, Tanya. But the NFL refused to publish its findings, which triggered the House Oversight Committee’s review in October.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the panel on Wednesday, saying the commanders’ culture was “not just unprofessional, but toxic for far too long.”

“It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in many ways: bullying, widespread disrespect for colleagues, use of derogatory language, public embarrassment and harassment,” Goodell said. “In addition, for a long time, the managers had a sadly deficient HR function, especially with regard to reporting practices and record keeping.”

But Goodell claimed that the commanders’ workplace had changed for the better and that Snyder “met outstanding discipline”, including the fine. He said Snyder has not attended league or committee meetings in the past year, noting that the commanders had put in place “a whole new, highly skilled and diverse leadership team” and “renewed” the cheerleading program and leadership with a coed dance team. In 2020, bosses hired Ron Rivera as their head football coach and Jason Wright to be their team president.

Goodell also said the team had not received a written report from Wilkinson to preserve the confidentiality of those involved in the internal investigation, but could release a “summary of key findings” in the future “if appropriate.” Illinois Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi suggested that the NFL could release a detailed report with edited names if necessary.

Republicans said Wednesday that the House oversight committee should instead have spent its time on more important national issues – such as rising consumer prices, lack of baby compensation, a record number of illegal border crossings, fentanyl overdoses or the refueling stock market – and focus. on investigating the federal government instead of the private sector. Maloney said the committee had the authority to investigate “everything and everything”, which led at least one Republican member to say they would remember next year, when the GOP is preferred to take back the house.

“This committee is failing the American people,” the Kentucky Rep. Jim Comer, the top Republican on the panel.

Maloney disagreed, noting that attorneys in six states had told the NFL in April of their “serious concerns” about allegations of harassment of women and minorities in the workplace and that the NFL had launched a new investigation based on the committee’s work.

The NFL hired former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Jo White to investigate a sexual harassment allegation against Snyder by former employee Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team. Johnston told the congressional committee that the owner of the Commanders had put his hand on her leg under the table at a work dinner and tried to persuade her to get into his limousine. Snyder has denied Johnston’s allegations.

“Some have argued that protecting women is not worthy of the time of this committee. I strongly disagree,” Maloney said. “For more than two decades, Dan Snyder has refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created. The NFL has failed to protect these women either. Now I think it’s up to Congress to protect them, and millions more like them. . “

Maloney said she had introduced two bills to “ensure that employers like Dan Snyder can not misuse confidentiality to silence employees – and not film their employees” and use the footage without their consent. Goodell said he supported the intention with the bills.

“In the concept, we absolutely support it, and we want to work with your employees,” said Goodell.

Snyder had been invited to appear on the panel on Wednesday, but was out of the country, according to Maloney.

“We also invited Daniel Snyder to testify today. But instead of showing up and taking responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip the city,” Maloney said. “Apparently Mr. Snyder is in France, where he has docked for his luxury yacht near a resort town. It should tell you how much respect he has for women in the workplace.”

Snyder lawyer Karen Patton Seymour said the commanders’ owner was willing to cooperate, but the committee was not “willing to consider changing the date of the hearing,” according to the four-page letter CNN has received.

“The committee also stated that it is not willing to consider changing the date of the hearing, despite the fact that Snyder has a long-standing commander-related business conflict and is out of the country on the first and only date the committee has proposed. for the hearing “, it says in the letter. “The committee instead insisted on a yes-or-no answer from Mr. Snyder as to whether he would attend the hearing at the agreed time.”

Asked by Maloney what “specific steps” the NFL would take to hold Snyder accountable for not testifying, Goodell said: “I have no responsibility if he shows up for Congress. It’s not my choice. It’s his choice. . “

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong day for comments from House Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney. It was Wednesday.