The Democratic ranking member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee sent a letter Wednesday that called for the panel to refer former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder to the Department of Justice for potentially lying under oath and obstructing the committee’s previous 14-month-long investigation into the team.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Pennsylvania Democrat, said in a letter to committee chair Rep. James Comer that the NFL’s recent findings into Snyder warranted referral to the Justice Department for an investigation and possible criminal charges.
Last month, upon completing the team’s sale to owner Josh Harris, the league issued a $60 million fine to Snyder for what it deemed a credible accusation of sexual misconduct and hiding millions in revenue that was supposed to be shared with other teams.
Mr. Raskin said in an eight-page letter that the findings revealed discrepancies between what the NFL found and what Mr. Snyder told the House Oversight Committee when the panel led a 14-month investigation into the embattled billionaire and the Commanders.
In December 2022, the House committee, then led by Democrats, released a 79-page report that found Snyder oversaw a “toxic” workplace culture at the Commanders and impeded multiple investigations into the subject. Snyder participated in a nearly 11-hour sworn deposition with the committee for that probe.
“Making false statements to Congress and obstructing Congressional investigations are serious crimes,” Mr. Raskin wrote to Mr. Comer. “This Committee cannot conduct effective oversight if witnesses misrepresent and obscure the truth. I therefore urge you to hold Mr. Snyder accountable by referring him to the Department of Justice for investigation and, if warranted, prosecution, for lying under oath and obstructing this Committee’s investigation.”
A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee did not return a request for comment.
But Mr. Comer is unlikely to action on Mr. Raskin’s request, given the chairman was staunchly opposed to the panel’s investigation when he was a former ranking member of the committee. Mr. Comer told newsfeedworld in June 2022 that the “Washington Redskins is not a priority for Republicans on the Oversight committee,” vowing to end the probe if Republicans took over the House after the November elections.
Republicans would go on to take over the House, but Oversight Committee wrapped up its probe into Snyder a month before the changes went into effect. As part of Congress’ investigation, former Washington employee Tiffani Johnston came forward to testify that Snyder made an unwanted advance by inappropriately touching her thigh and trying to coax her into his limo at a work dinner.
Snyder fiercely denied the allegations — both publicly and under oath. But last month, the NFL fined Snyder and investigator Mary Jo White said in a report that she found Johnston’s story to be “highly credible.” White, the former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and her team spoke with four other witnesses who corroborated the incident.
The NFL also found that the Commanders hid up at least $11 million in revenue from the rest of the league and still owed $1.9 million in refundable security deposits to former season ticket holders.
That reveal stemmed from the testimony of Jason Friedman, a former Washington sales executive who told Congress that Washington was committing financial improprieties under Snyder’s watch. The team denied the allegations in part by accusing Friedman of being a former disgruntled employee who was fired, but Friedman’s testimony launched a number of other investigations by other bodies such as the D.C. Attorney General’s office and the Virginia Attorney General’s office.
Friedman has since filed a lawsuit against the Commanders and one of their attorneys, accusing them of defamation. The team said the suit had no merit.
Mr. Raskin referenced Johnston and Friedman throughout his letter to Mr. Comer.
“Mr. Snyder’s statements under oath to this Committee, claiming Ms. Johnston’s allegations ‘didn’t happen’ and were ‘not true,’ as well as his assertion that ‘the whole claim is not true’ are inconsistent with the findings of Ms. White’s investigation,” Mr. Raskins said. “Mr. Snyder’s testimony to the Committee suggests a deliberate effort to provide false testimony in an effort to obstruct a Congressional investigation.
“These false statements are particularly troubling given that they appear to be part of a pattern of obstruction and misrepresentation that included Mr. Snyder’s efforts to smear Mr. Friedman and his characterization of Ms. Johnston’s account as ‘outright lies,’ as well as his efforts to interfere with a prior investigation conducted by Beth Wilkinson.”