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Daniel Snyder reiterates refusal to testify, escalating tensions

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is seeking certain accommodations before agreeing to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder reiterated his refusal to participate in Wednesday’s congressional hearing about the team’s workplace via a letter from his lawyer Monday.

In the letter, Snyder does not close the door on speaking to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform about the team’s workplace but makes clear that he would do so only if certain conditions are met.

The two-page letter from lawyer Karen Patton Seymour, who is representing Snyder, to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the panel’s chairwoman, restates his “long-standing business conflict, for which he is out of the country.” It also restates concerns about “fundamental notions of fairness and due process.”

In response, a committee spokesperson noted the panel “has been more than accommodating” in several respects, including allowing Snyder to testify remotely from France.

“The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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The exchange represents the latest volley of correspondence between Snyder and the panel over whether, when and under what conditions he will testify under oath about long-standing allegations of sexual harassment and toxicity reported by dozens of former employees.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will testify at Wednesday’s hearing remotely. The league declined to comment Monday on Snyder’s latest refusal.

In a six-page letter to Snyder’s lawyer Friday, Maloney wrote that she found no valid reason he couldn’t testify and urged him to reconsider, offering to share certain information in advance as an “accommodation.” She set 9 a.m. Monday as the deadline for his reply.

The committee launched its investigation of the Commanders’ workplace and the NFL’s response to it in October. After eight months of fact-finding, the panel views Snyder’s testimony as essential and believes he should make himself available.

If he declines to do so voluntarily, Maloney can issue a subpoena to compel his testimony. The ongoing discussion over what accommodations will and won’t be provided represents an effort to reach a compromise short of a subpoena.

As a result of the investigation, Maloney last week introduced legislation meant to rein in the abuse of nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements and create new protections for employees in all workplaces.

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