Top Oversight Republican vows to end investigation into Washington Commanders

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said that he plans to end the committee’s ongoing investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against the NFL’s Washington Commanders if Republicans regain control of the lower chamber.

In an interview with The Washington Times published Tuesday, Comer told the outlet that he believes the investigation into the team, which he referred to by its former name, “Redskins,” is a waste of tax dollars and that the team isn’t a priority for the committee’s GOP members. 

The committee’s investigation into the Washington, D.C.-based NFL franchise began after an email chain between former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and then-Commanders President Bruce Allen was leaked to the public. The email chain contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic language and was a part of the league’s initial probe of the team.

The NFL fined Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and the team $10 million last year for the violations, with Snyder being removed from day-to-day control of the team as well. The league launched a second investigation into the team earlier this year after former cheerleader and team employee Tiffani Johnston testified at the roundtable hearing that Snyder sexually harassed her during a work-related dinner.

“I don’t really care what Dan Snyder’s opinion is,” Comer told the Times. “I want the American people to know that this is a waste of their tax dollars and this isn’t something that is going to be a priority for the Republicans. … The Washington Redskins is not a priority for Republicans on the Oversight Committee.” 

Comer added that the committee’s mission is to focus on issues within the federal government, saying that will be the committee’s main focus if the GOP takes control of the House after November’s midterm elections. 

“The Democrats know that the outcome of the midterm elections is not favorable for them,” Comer told the Times. “Whether it’s the Washington Football Team investigation or whatever investigation they have against any of the oil CEOs, they should probably focus on wrapping it up before Dec. 31.” 

The interview comes as the committee has accused Snyder of evading its efforts to secure testimony from him after he refused to appear this week in response to its subpoena.

Snyder, who has owned the Commanders since 1999, also declined to voluntarily appear at the committee’s hearing on his team last week, calling it a “politically charged show trial.” 

“The Committee will not be deterred from obtaining Mr. Snyder’s testimony, and we remain committed to ensuring transparency about the toxic workplace culture at the Washington Commanders and the NFL’s inadequate response,” a committee spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill on Monday.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Snyder said that the owner did not refuse to appear for a deposition, noting that Snyder’s legal counsel provided alternative dates for his testimony to the House panel. 

“Mr. Snyder has not refused to appear for a deposition. The Committee offered only one date — June 30 — and Mr. Snyder’s attorney is out of the country and unavailable on that date,” Snyder’s spokesperson said in a statement. “Mr. Snyder’s lawyer has provided alternative dates to the Committee and looks forward to finding a path forward for Mr. Snyder’s further cooperation and to address remaining due process concerns.”

The Hill has reached out to the House Oversight and Reform Committee for comment.

Tags Bruce Allen Dan Snyder Dan Snyder Daniel Snyder House Oversight and Reform Committee House Oversight Committee James Comer James Comer James Comer Jon Gruden NFL NFL Washington Commanders Washington Commanders Washington D.C. workplace misconduct
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