Commanders' Daniel Snyder Won't Testify Under House Subpoena, Attorney Says

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2022

An empty seat marked for Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Commanders football team, as RogerGoodel, commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), center, speaks via videoconference during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. The hearing is looking into how the NFL has handled allegations of workplace misconduct by the Washington Commanders football team. Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Daniel Snyder's attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, said the Washington Commanders owner would not testify under a subpoena for the House Oversight Committee and would instead do so voluntarily, per John Keim of ESPN.

Seymour said in a letter that the Committee's concern that Snyder might withhold information if he didn't testify under a subpoena was "baseless."

"We are confident that Mr. Snyder will able to provide full and complete testimony during his voluntary appearance," she wrote. "The July 12 letter also wrongly suggests that Mr. Snyder has previously refused to cooperate. To the contrary, since the Committee first requested that he appear voluntarily to testify at the June 22 hearing, Mr. Snyder has been fully committed to cooperating in the Committee's investigation."

A.J. Perez @byajperez

UPDATE: Legal team for Dan Snyder responds to the Oversight Committee: <br><br>“There is no valid basis to issue a subpoena for Mr. Snyder’s testimony. We intend that he will testify voluntarily on July 28, as he has long agreed and looks forward to the opportunity to do.” <a href="https://t.co/J6PV2NQzC4">https://t.co/J6PV2NQzC4</a>

Legally, Snyder would have to answer any question posed to him, under oath, if he were to be subpoenaed. If he testified voluntarily, however, he could avoid questions asked by the Committee, which is investigating the Commanders' "hostile workplace culture" alongside 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."

Liz Clarke @lizclarketweet

House Oversight Comm accepts Dan Snyder’s “offer” to testify July 28 but on ITS terms—not his. That means: He’d testify under subpoena (under oath); can’t choose which Questions he’d answer; can’t cite existing NDAs as reason to refuse Questions. <br>(He has til noon Wed to confirm)

The NFL conducted its own investigation into Washington's workplace culture and a reported pattern of sexual harassment, fining the franchise $10 million in July 2021. The NFL did not publicly release the findings of that investigation, however, which led to the House Oversight Committee's investigation.

Snyder has yet to testify before the Committee and has not responded to the subpoena issued to him. Because he's currently overseas on his yacht, U.S. Marshals are unable to serve him the subpoena since they have "no authority to serve a Congressional subpoena internationally," a spokesperson told Keim.

As Snyder's attorney, Seymour could receive the subpoena—which has to be issued in person—on Snyder's behalf but has declined to do so.

"The norm in D.C. is for attorneys to accept service electronically," Georgetown University's Federal Legislation Clinic director and the former Democratic staff director for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform told the Wall Street Journal (h/t Matt Stieb of NYMag.com). "It's very rare for an attorney not to accept service of a subpoena over email. I worked on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years and I have never seen anyone intentionally evade a subpoena from Congress in this way."

Snyder, in turn, has agreed to testify remotely on July 28, but only on a voluntary basis.

"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," Committee chair Carolyn Maloney wrote in a letter in response to that offer from Snyder, reiterating that the Committee wants him to testify under subpoena.

So unless Snyder plans to stay on his yacht indefinitely in international waters, he'll likely be served eventually.