The House Committee on Oversight and Reform accepted Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder's offer to testify via video conference on July 28, but said he could not do it voluntarily as his attorney had requested.
In a letter Tuesday from Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) to Snyder's attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, the committee said it would accept his testimony only under a subpoena. The committee reissued a subpoena for Snyder and gave his attorney a noon deadline on Wednesday to accept.
"Mr. Snyder's attorneys are reviewing the Committee's letter to determine if their due process concerns, including the circumstances of Mr. Snyder's appearance, have adequately been addressed," a spokesperson for Snyder said Tuesday.
The committee had first issued a subpoena on June 24 for a deposition six days later, but that subpoena was not accepted.
Maloney wrote that the committee wants Snyder to testify under a subpoena to ensure that his "testimony will be full and complete and will not be restricted in the way it would be if the deposition were conducted voluntarily."
Maloney also cited Snyder's "month-long refusal" to cooperate with the committee as another factor in wanting him to appear via subpoena.
Dave Rapallo, Georgetown University's Federal Legislation Clinic director and the Democratic staff director of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform from 2011 to 2021, said last week that there's an important difference between testifying voluntarily as opposed to being subpoenaed.
"If you're under subpoena, you have to answer the question posed," Rapallo said. "If it's voluntary, and you're not under subpoena, you don't."
If Snyder testified voluntarily, Rapallo said, he could claim he can't answer because of nondisclosure agreements. Maloney said in the letter "Mr. Snyder has a troubling history of using NDAs to cover up workplace misconduct -- behavior that is central to our investigation -- and it would be highly inappropriate for him to employ the same tactic to withhold information from the Committee."
Many of the employees and former employees who participated in the NFL's internal investigation of the Commanders' workplace culture signed nondisclosure agreements.
Maloney said the committee was already agreeing to let Snyder testify remotely and give him access to transcribed interviews of other witnesses as well as provide him with a "description of the types of information redacted by the Committee in each of these prior transcripts."
In her letter to the committee last week, Seymour said that Snyder planned to be in Israel for "much of July" and "into August" to observe the one-year anniversary of his mother's death. Seymour said she'd travel to Israel for Snyder's video deposition, which would be conducted in private, but the committee can opt to release all or part of the transcript.
Seymour stated in the letter that she had previous work duties in Europe on the earlier proposed dates of July 6 and 8. She was also in Europe for work on June 22 when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified at a hearing on the investigation. Seymour said Snyder would agree to testify on July 28 or 29 -- the last two days the House is in session before its August recess.
The Commanders are scheduled to start training camp on July 27, with the team's first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 13.
Snyder regularly attended his team's training camp until recent years. In 2019, he did not arrive to camp until August due to vacation plans. In 2020, he did not attend because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not attend last year after his wife, Tanya, assumed responsibility for day-to-day operations of the team after the NFL levied a record-setting $10 million fine, following the league's internal investigation of sexual misconduct and workplace culture within Washington's franchise.
At the NFL meetings in March, Goodell said Snyder would not represent the team on a daily basis for the "foreseeable future" and that they would discuss his return "at some point." According to a league source, that discussion has not yet happened.
Snyder traveled to France in June to attend an awards ceremony the same week he had been invited by the committee to testify with Goodell. During Goodell's testimony on June 22, Maloney announced she planned to subpoena Snyder for a deposition.