Washington Commanders probe ripped by former committee chair

ASHBURN, Va. -- A former chair of the House Oversight Committee sent a blistering nine-page letter to the current chair, picking apart the committee's investigation into the Washington Commanders and attempting to cast doubt on the credibility of their witnesses.

Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman who led the committee for four years, said he was "raising concerns" as the investigation nears its completion. The committee's report is expected to be released this fall, approximately one year after the investigation began. Davis works for the law firm Holland & Knight, which represents the team.

"The investigation of the Washington Commanders has not been fair, thorough, or bipartisan, and it certainly hasn't sought the truth," Davis wrote to Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). "From the beginning, the Committee set out with a singular purpose -- to destroy Dan Snyder and his family and attempt, with deception, innuendo, and half-truths, to drive him from the National Football League."

ESPN obtained a copy of the letter Wednesday; it included exhibits sent to the committee in an attempt to discredit multiple witnesses.

In a statement, the committee said its focus has been to "uncover the truth" about the decades-long hostile workplace culture at the Commanders. It also said the committee's goal was to find "legislative solutions to ensure that all employees are protected from abuse and harassment in their place of work."

The committee's statement also included this: "Although the Commanders' owner has recently claimed to have turned over a new leaf, this latest effort to attack and intimidate former employees who have come forward casts doubt on this assertion -- as does the team's continued efforts to block the production of documents to the Committee. The Committee's investigation will not be deterred by such tactics."

Davis indicated in the letter that Snyder had hired private investigators to "uncover evidence of unlawful conduct" directed against him and his family, although he said the NFL was "contemporaneously aware" of those efforts.

Davis, who led Congress' investigation into steroids in baseball, also said the committee did not talk to anyone who currently works for the team to gauge whether the culture had indeed changed. He referred to some of the key witnesses, including former team president Bruce Allen and former vice president of sales and customer service Jason Friedman, as "embittered by their enforced separation from the team."

Davis said firing Allen at the end of the 2019 season was the most significant step toward remedying the toxic workplace culture. Allen worked for the team for 10 seasons, a period that coincided with numerous accusations regarding the culture, including charges of sexual harassment against other former employees.

The NFL continues to investigate a charge of sexual misconduct made by former Washington cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston, who alleged that Snyder felt her leg under the table while at a dinner and then tried to force her into his limousine afterward.

Snyder has denied this charge and did so to the committee while under oath during a late July deposition, according to the letter. Davis said Snyder told the committee that he couldn't recall ever meeting Johnston, let alone being seated next to her at a dinner.

Davis also said in the letter that Allen and two other former team executives, Brian Lafemina and David Pauken, testified that they never saw Snyder sexually harass or assault anyone.

Davis wrote that the committee has ignored information that did not fit its "preconceived narrative."