Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder is refusing to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee under a subpoena, maintaining that he should be allowed to testify voluntarily later this month.
Karen Patton Seymour, Mr. Snyder’s attorney, wrote in a letter to the committee Wednesday that “there is no legitimate need for a subpoena.” Ms. Seymour responded to Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the committee investigating the Commanders’ workplace culture, after the committee welcomed Mr. Snyder’s request to testify July 28, but only if his attorney accepts the service of the subpoena.
“Under the circumstances, there is no valid basis to issue a subpoena for Mr. Snyder’s testimony,” Ms. Seymour wrote to Ms. Maloney on Wednesday. “We intend that he will testify voluntarily on July 28, as he has long agreed and looks forward to the opportunity to do.”
A committee spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday.
Ms. Seymour, in a letter to the committee last week, originally suggested July 28 as a possible date that Mr. Snyder, 57, could testify virtually. Ms. Maloney, New York Democrat, responded Tuesday and gave Mr. Snyder a deadline of Wednesday at noon to agree to testify July 28 under subpoena. July 28 is the penultimate day before the start of Congress’ August recess.
“The Committee will proceed with a subpoena in place to ensure that Mr. Snyder’s testimony will be full and complete and will not be restricted in the way it would be if the deposition were conducted voluntarily,” Ms. Maloney wrote Tuesday.
The committee issued the subpoena to Mr. Snyder, who is out of the country, on June 24 for a hearing on June 30 and then asked Ms. Seymour to accept it for him — a request she declined because she said she wasn’t authorized to do so. The committee then offered July 6 or July 8 as days for him to testify, but Ms. Seymour said she was “unavailable” for those dates.
Ms. Seymour wrote to the committee last week that Mr. Snyder will be in Israel “for much of July” for ceremonies to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death. She wrote that the trip “cannot be rescheduled.”
Ms. Maloney responded that Mr. Snyder could testify virtually via Zoom from Israel if he accepts the subpoena, but Ms. Seymour wrote Wednesday that the committee was acting in a “disingenuous” manner about his testimony.
“We appreciate that the Committee has now accepted our offer for Mr. Snyder to testify from Israel, but it is, respectfully, disingenuous to assert that there has been ‘a month-long refusal to cooperate’ when it is the Committee who declined for weeks to respond to his offer to appear voluntarily on the date the Committee has now accepted,” Ms. Seymour wrote.
Ms. Maloney also wrote Tuesday that Mr. Snyder’s nondisclosure agreements are a main reason why the committee, which has been investigating the Commanders’ workplace culture since the fall, won’t allow the longtime Washington owner to testify voluntarily.
“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,” Ms. Maloney wrote to Ms. Seymour. “Other former Commanders employees have participated in Committee depositions under subpoena, and Mr. Snyder should not be treated any differently.”
Ms. Seymour described the accusation that Mr. Snyder would hide behind NDAs during his testimony as “baseless.” She said Mr. Snyder would be able to “provide full and complete testimony” if he is allowed to do so voluntarily.
“The Committee’s proffered justification – that Mr. Snyder would otherwise invoke non-disclosure agreements ‘to withhold information from the Committee’ – is baseless,” she wrote. “Mr. Snyder is not subject to any NDA that conditions his ability to share information solely on receipt of a subpoena.”
• Matthew Paras contributed to this report.
• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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