House Oversight Committee asks Daniel Snyder, Roger Goodell to testify on Commanders probe

House Oversight Committee asks Daniel Snyder, Roger Goodell to testify on Commanders probe

The House Oversight Committee announced Wednesday that it will hold a hearing on Capitol Hill later this month to learn more about the NFL’s investigation into the toxic culture within the Washington Commanders.

And it has invited NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Commanders owner Daniel Snyder to testify.

The hearing, which is scheduled for June 22, marks a significant step in the House Oversight Committee’s investigation, which has to this point featured only letters, public statements and a single “roundtable” involving former team employees.

The committee has been looking into allegations of workplace misconduct within the Commanders organization, and the NFL’s response. The league commissioned an investigation into the issue, which concluded last summer. It sanctioned the team and Snyder but did not release a public report on its findings.

“The Committee has worked tirelessly to obtain critical information, including the findings of the internal investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, only to be met with obstruction from the Commanders and the NFL at every turn,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

“We must have transparency and accountability, which is why we are calling on Mr. Goodell and Mr. Snyder to answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months.”

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When asked by USA TODAY Sports if Goodell and Snyder planned to testify, spokespeople for the NFL and the Commanders, respectively, only said that they would respond to the committee’s invitation “directly” and “in a timely manner.”

“The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the Committee’s lengthy investigation of the Washington Commanders, including by producing more than 460,000 pages of documents and responding to numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the Committee’s staff,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement.

Committee Republicans swiftly criticized the decision to hold a hearing, and called the investigation itself “a misuse of Congressional oversight authority.”

“This entire charade appears to be an attempt to gain cheap headlines, not solutions,” Austin Hacker, a spokesperson for Committee Republicans, said in a statement.

By scheduling a hearing on Capitol Hill, the House Oversight Committee has created the type of public spectacle that the league would likely prefer to avoid. And it has put Goodell and Snyder in the unenviable position of either rejecting a request to assist in a Congressional investigation, or potentially being grilled by members in a public setting.

Goodell has previously made at least five appearances at hearings on Capitol Hill, fielding questions on a wide range of topics, including the league’s retirement system and doping issues. But he has not testified before Congress since 2009.

The House Committee framed the hearing as a natural next step after more than seven months of probing the issues in Washington and the NFL’s investigation into the matter.

It first requested documents from the league in October, then reiterated its request in November, saying it had received some but not all of the requested materials. In February, it held a roundtable with former Washington employees who participated in the NFL’s investigation and have said they want the findings to be made public.

“We are pleased the House Oversight Committee has invited Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell to testify in front of the Committee,” attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent those former team employees, said in a statement Wednesday. “We hope they will demonstrate the same courage as our clients and agree to testify.”

Most recently, the House Committee has said its probe has uncovered possible financial irregularities within Washington’s books and referred the information to the FTC. The team has categorically denied “any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time.”

The NFL has since tapped Mary Jo White, the former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to investigate the claims of financial misconduct, as well as allegations of sexual harassment levied against Snyder, which he has denied.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

- House Oversight Committee asks Daniel Snyder, Roger Goodell to testify on Commanders probe

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