The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday issued a release saying that Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder launched a "shadow investigation" to influence the NFL's internal probe into workplace misconduct — including sexual misconduct.
The release said that chair of the committee, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, shared with committee members a memo detailing findings from the panel’s investigation.
The memo described new evidence that sheds light on Snyder's efforts to discredit victims and witnesses, and shows the NFL and the Commanders, contrary to their public statements, failed to act independently while the league's internal investigation was ongoing.
The release and Maloney’s memo came before a committee hearing examining the hostile workplace culture at the Commanders, and the NFL's refusal to release the findings of an internal investigation into allegations of harassment and abuse.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell planned to testify before the committee on Wednesday. Snyder, claiming a scheduling conflict, declined the committee’s invitation to testify.
Maloney's memo said that Snyder's lawyers used their investigation "to create a 100-slide dossier with emails, text messages, telephone records, and social media posts from journalists, victims, and witnesses who had made credible public accusations of harassment against the Commanders."
Maloney said Snyder sent private investigators to the homes of the accusers and gathered thousands of emails from former team President Bruce Allen in an attempt to show that Allen had created the toxic work environment in the organization.
Snyder's legal team also shared the information they gathered to influence attorney Beth Wilkinson’s league investigation of the team, the memo said.
The oversight committee launched its investigation Oct. 21, less than two weeks after Jon Gruden resigned as Las Vegas Raiders head coach. Gruden’s emails with Allen – which contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic language – was a part of the league's probe of the Commanders and were leaked to the public.
Maloney's memo to committee members also described how former Commanders Chief Operating Officer David Pauken testified that when Snyder learned a member of the team’s coaching staff had groped a public relations employee, the owner refused to take action against the coach and instead ordered the female employee to "stay away from the coach."
Pauken also said Snyder fired a female employee who engaged in consensual relationships with her male colleagues while her male counterparts faced little to no repercussions for consensual relationships in the office.
"The female employees were fired, the male employee was — there were no repercussions other than he was restricted from additional sex with the cheerleaders," Pauken testified.
A former long-time employee said the team’s culture "glorified drinking and womanizing" and that employees feared for their jobs if they spoke up.
Maloney added that the league initially asked Snyder to investigate his own team, only to retract that decision after the owner himself was accused of sexual harassment.
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