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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Congress Receives Thousands More Documents from NFL as Part of Commanders Probe

  • Documents include those gathered by attorney Beth Wilkinson as part of her probe of Commanders.
  • The House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Commanders in October.
Commanders Documents
Hannah Gaber-USA TODAY

The pace of documents sent to Congress as part of an investigation into the Washington Commanders has picked up in recent weeks, reaching 210,000 pages, sources with knowledge of the investigation told Front Office Sports. 

The NFL had sent “nearly 80,000” pages of documents to the House Oversight Committee as of Feb. 4, according to a league statement at the time. 

While the NFL has regularly sent documents requested by the Oversight Committee since the probe began in October, one source said that “thousands” more pages have been submitted by the NFL over the last several weeks. 

Another source told FOS many of those documents include those produced by Beth Wilkinson, the former assistant U.S. Attorney who led the NFL’s first outside investigation into allegations the Commanders fostered a hostile work environment. 

The Washington Post reported in February that the NFL had sought 109,000 documents related to Wilkinson’s investigation that concluded in July with a $10 million fine. There was no written report generated by Wikinson, which sparked outrage from many accusers who stepped forward publicly.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the Oversight Committee, wrote a February letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about her concerns over an agreement entered into by the NFL and the Commanders early in Wilkinson’s investigation. 

“The common interest agreement may have been intended to prevent the public release of certain information related to the investigation absent the agreement of both parties — meaning that either the WFT or the NFL could try to bury the findings of the investigation,” Maloney wrote. 

The Commanders’ legal team has denied that the team or owner Dan Snyder would use that agreement to impede the committee’s investigation.

A review of the documents was undertaken to identify privileged information — like communications between a client and lawyer —  that cannot legally be shared, according to a source. 

“We did not make a deal with Dan Snyder to have his approval to release any information,”  Goodell said before February’s Super Bowl. 

None of the information turned over includes emails to or from Snyder, one source confirmed.  As FOS previously reported, Snyder did not have a team email account. 

The House Oversight Committee’s investigation has been focused on numerous claims of harassment leveled by current and former Commanders employees. From the start, the Democratic leaders of the Committee have urged the NFL to “be fully transparent.”

FOS reported last Thursday that the scope of the Oversight Committee investigation had widened beyond allegations the Commanders fostered a hostile work environment to include allegations of financial irregularities. 

On Saturday, FOS reported that Committee investigators had received information that alleged the Commanders had failed to pass along ticket revenue to the league. 

The Commanders said in a statement there “has been absolutely no withholding of ticket revenue at any time.” 

Former SEC chair Mary Jo White was tapped by the NFL in February to lead another investigation into new harassment claims, which included one made against Snyder by former cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston.

Johnston testified at a Congressional roundtable in February that Snyder put his hand on her thigh and “aggressively pushed” her toward Snyder’s limousine. 

Snyder called Johnston’s allegations “outright lies.” 

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