Snyder is expected to receive a subpoena soon to give a sworn statement to the committee next week, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), chair of the committee, announced.
Congressional committee depositions are conducted in private, with attorneys from both sides of the committee present, as well as the deposed person and their attorney. The interview is fully transcribed; it can also be recorded on video. It is up to the committee to decide whether to make the transcript and/or the videotape public.
Given the committee’s release this week of more than 700 pages of documents related to its investigation, including full transcripts of sworn depositions by former leaders of Commanders Brian Lafemina and Dave Pauken, it seems certain the panel would also release Snyder’s testimony.
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Short of complying, Snyder has few evasive moves left.
Like all Americans, Snyder has the constitutional right to assert his Fifth Amendment protection by refusing to answer questions, invoking his right against self-incrimination. But that privilege isn’t available simply because someone might object to potential questions, according to David Rapallo, a Georgetown law professor and former staff director of the House Oversight Committee.
“If he wants to take fifth, he has every right to do so, although he hasn’t indicated he plans to do so,” Rapallo said on Thursday. “Others have done it.”
Snyder could also try to negotiate the details of the deposition, such as the timing.
Lawmakers generally try to accommodate reasonable requests, Rapallo said. But in this case, having twice refused to appear voluntarily, Snyder may have run out of reasons.
The first reason given by his lawyer – that he had a conflict with the June 22 hearing date – has been addressed now that Maloney has announced that his deposition will take place next week.
The other reason given by Snyder’s attorney — that he wanted advance copies of the documents on which the questioning would be based — also seems moot now that the committee has released the documents on its website. Moreover, Snyder may have lacked goodwill from Democratic leaders on the panel who want to question him about his role in both a long history of workplace complaints and, more recently, trying to obstruct the NFL’s investigation through what the committee called a “shadow.” investigation” to intimidate and silence former employees.
Maloney indicated this when announcing his intention to issue the subpoena, saying it was clear that Snyder was “more concerned with protecting himself than revealing himself to the American public.”
Maloney took this step after asking Goodell what the NFL was planning to do to hold Snyder accountable for refusing to testify before Congress.
“Madam President, I have no responsibility for his appearance before Congress,” Goodell said. “It’s not my choice. It’s his choice.”
Asked later about Snyder’s refusal to appear, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said, “We live in a time where there are people who feel above the law. Unfortunately, this sense of impunity and arrogance is a bit of a social contagion these days.
Raskin noted that the vast majority of those summoned to appear before the Jan. 6 select committee, on which he also sits, have come forward and cooperated, although about a dozen have not.
“Maybe Dan Snyder was inspired by those who think they’re somehow above the people’s representatives in Congress,” Raskin said.
Said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “Snubbing Congress is not a good strategy.”
In Rapallo’s view, if Snyder adamantly refuses to comply with Maloney’s subpoena, that “would be a pretty serious step.”
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The committee would then have a few options.
Congress can despise him. The committee could also broaden its reach and call others around Snyder for depositions and hearings: his aides, deputies and others who may have information, Rapallo said.
“It’s a tactical question, but if he had attended the hearing, he would have testified for a few hours,” Rapallo said. “Now he is facing a deposition, which usually lasts much longer, is being conducted by the committee lawyers and is going to be subpoenaed. And even then, it is certainly possible that the committee could summon him for a hearing after the Thus, for witnesses faced with these types of circumstances, they often conclude that it is in their best interests to cooperate and attend the hearing.
It is not believed that NFL rules would specifically require Snyder to comply with a congressional subpoena or sanction him for noncompliance. The NFL declined to comment Thursday beyond Goodell’s response to Maloney’s questions on the matter during the hearing.
A spokesperson for Commanders’ property did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
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Finally, Snyder could simply stall by prolonging negotiations and challenging any subsequent court orders in an attempt to run out time until November’s midterm elections, in the hopes of Republicans taking control of the House.
If that happens, Maloney would be replaced as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, likely by James Comer (R-Ky.), who has consistently derided the COs workplace investigation as a waste of time for legislators and money for taxpayers.
“In January, if Republicans retake the House, watchdog Republicans do not intend to pursue an investigation of Washington commanders and will return the committee to its primary mission of rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. within the federal government,” Austin Hacker, a spokesman for the committee’s Republicans, said Thursday.
Paul Kane and Nicki Jhabvala contributed to this report.
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