Oversight Committee releases report on Commanders investigation

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform says the Washington Commanders covered up decades of sexual misconduct according to a new report released Thursday. 

The committee also said Commanders owner Dan Snyder tried to interfere with the congressional investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace. 

"The results of the Committee’s investigation, as laid out in this report, are clear: sexual harassment, bullying, and other toxic conduct pervaded the workplace at the Washington Commanders and were perpetuated by a culture of fear instilled by the Team’s owner." the report said.

The report went on to criticize the NFL, saying the league misled the public about its handling of the independent investigation and was aware of Snyder's "serious interference." The report mentions attorney Beth Wilkinson, who Snyder initially commissioned to investigate the team’s workplace environment. 

"The NFL, through the investigation conducted by Ms. Wilkinson, was aware that Mr. Snyder and other Team executives not only failed to stop this misconduct but engaged in it themselves. The League also knew that Mr. Snyder and the Commanders organization used a variety of tactics to intimidate, surveil, and pay off whistleblowers and to influence and obstruct Ms. Wilkinson’s work," said the report. "The NFL aligned its legal interests with Mr. Snyder’s, failed to curtail his abusive tactics, and buried the investigation’s findings."

Read the full U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform Report on the Washington Commanders

The NFL said they "cooperated extensively with the Committee’s investigation."

"The investigation into the Commanders’ workplace that was conducted by Beth Wilkinson’s firm was independent and thorough. No individual who wished to speak to the Wilkinson firm was prevented from doing so by non-disclosure agreements. And many of the more than 150 witnesses who participated in the Wilkinson investigation did so on the condition that their identities would be kept confidential," said NFL Spokesperson Brian McCarthy in a statement. "Far from impeding the investigation, the common interest agreement enabled the NFL efficiently to assume oversight of the matter and avoided the potential for substantial delay and inconvenience to witnesses."

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys for more than 40 former employees of the Washington Commanders, released a statement in response to the report. 

"Today, after a lengthy and wide-ranging investigation, the Committee on Oversight and Reform issued a comprehensive report that definitively details not only the extensive sexual harassment that occurred, but also owner Dan Snyder’s involvement in that sexual harassment and his efforts to obstruct the various investigations into that scandal," reads the statement. "The report also reveals the NFL’s shameless efforts to cover up the wrongdoing and protect Mr. Snyder at all costs. In addition to creating a public record of what had been hidden for decades, the Committee’s work resulted in important legislation limiting the use of non-disclosure agreements, which will help prevent this type of widespread harassment from happening in other American workplaces."

The Washington Commanders' counsel John Brownlee and Stuart Nash issued a statement in response to the report:

There are no new revelations here.  The Committee persists in criticizing Mr. Snyder for declining to voluntarily appear at the Committee's hearing last spring, notwithstanding Mr. Snyder's agreement to sit, at a date chosen by the Committee, for an unprecedented 11-hours of questioning under oath.  The only two members of Congress who witnessed any part of that deposition, one Democrat and one Republican, both made public statements in the wake of the deposition characterizing Mr. Snyder's answers as truthful, cooperative, and candid.  As is typical of the Committee, they have refused, despite our repeated requests to release the full transcript of Mr. Snyder's deposition.

The Committee suggests that Mr. Snyder prevented witnesses from coming forward yet does not identify a single witness who did not come forward or who suffered a single adverse consequence for having done so. 

And, ironically for an "investigative" body, supposedly engaged in an "investigation," the investigators actually criticize the team and Mr. Snyder for providing evidence to the Committee -- such as e-mails former team employees sent from their workplace accounts -- that reveal the actual causes of the formerly dysfunctional workplace environment at the team.

Today's report does not advance public knowledge of the Washington Commanders workplace in any way.  The team is proud of the progress it has made in recent years in establishing a welcoming and inclusive workplace, and it looks forward to future success, both on and off the field.

READ MORE: Commanders lawyers slam House committee's investigation

The Republican Oversight Committee released a memorandum ahead of the Democrats' report on the Washington Commanders Football team. 

The memo begins by criticizing Democrats focus on the NFL and the Washington Commanders amidst nationwide concerns around inflation, border control and energy independence. 

"The Democrats’ sham investigation into the Washington Commanders has been an egregious waste of taxpayer-funded resources," reads the report. "From the beginning, Committee Democrats weaponized their power and pushed a one-sided investigation into a private company with no connection to the federal government." 

Read the Republican Oversight Committee Memorandum on the Washington Commanders Report

Congress launched an investigation into the Commanders workplace culture back in 2021. It began after the NFL chose not to release a report on an independent review of the organization. 

Back in June, Rep. Comer said that investigating the Commanders workplace "isn't the function of the committee" as he emphasized the importance of returning the committee to its mission of rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the committee and Snyder eventually testified remotely for nearly 11 hours in July.

READ MORE: How we got here: an interactive timeline of Snyder woes