Even more trouble could be on the way for the Washington Commanders.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which has been investigating the allegedly widespread sexual harassment that pervaded Washington under team owner Dan Snyder, is now looking into alleged financial impropriety by the team, according to The Washington Post.
The allegations reportedly came to light in recent weeks while the House Oversight Committee reviewed more than 80,000 pages of documents and interviewed witnesses.
In a subsequent story, Front Office Sports reported committee investigators were exploring whether Snyder's Commanders had been using "two books" of financial information to create a different picture of the team's finances. Specifically, the investigators are reportedly looking into the debt load Snyder undertook when he bought out the rest of the Commanders, deceptive accounting practices and allegations of a gender pay disparity.
The committee's comment, via Front Office Sports:
“The Committee continues to investigate the hostile workplace and culture of impunity at the Washington Commanders as well as the National Football League’s inadequate response and lack of transparency,” a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee said in a statement to FOS. “The Committee will follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
The Commanders denied knowing of any such investigation by the committee in a statement to the Post:
“The team is not aware of any investigation by the House Oversight Committee regarding financial matters, despite vague and unsubstantiated claims today by anonymous sources,” a Commanders spokesman said. “The team categorically denies any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time. We adhere to strict internal processes that are consistent with industry and accounting standards, are audited annually by a globally respected independent auditing firm, and are also subject to regular audits by the NFL. We continue to cooperate fully with the Committee’s work.”
If true, the allegations would further increase the temperature on the NFL's most embattled franchise.
Congress, NFL investigating Commanders' alleged sexual harassment
The Commanders' troubles stretch back two name changes ago, and there's no telling how long it will be before the matter is considered settled by all parties.
The NFL is now on its second investigation into the team, which was required after former Commanders cheerleader Tiffani Johnston testified before Congress that Snyder made unwanted sexual advances against her while she was with the team. Snyder initially attempted to hire his own investigators to handle the accusation, which led to a public rebuffing from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Veteran investigator Mary Jo White is currently investigating the allegations and will make her findings public when finished, unlike the last investigation into the Commanders led by Beth Wilkinson. Those findings were presented in private to Goodell with no written report, much to the frustration of Congress and others seeking transparency.
That first investigation did lead to a $10 million fine for the Commanders and Snyder being officially removed from the day-to-day leadership of the team, though he was replaced by his wife Tanya.