House Democrat Overseeing Washington Commanders Investigation Faces Ethics Complaint – NBCNEWS

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Rep.  Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, questions witnesses at a House Intelligence Committee impeachment allegation hearing in Washington, DC, Nov. 19, 2019.

A leading House Democrat who helps lead the congressional investigation into the NFL’s Washington Commanders faces an ethics complaint after agreeing to run a fundraising campaign with two lobbyists linked to a campaign to evict team owner Dan Snyder.

The American Accountability Foundation says that Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., may have violated House ethics rules by agreeing to appear at a May fundraiser organized by lobbying duo Mike and Tom Manatos.

The brothers have a long history of opposing Snyder, with Tom Manatos even running a website dedicated to spreading negative content about the team owner.

“Obviously, Rep. Krishnamoorthi, members of his staff and perhaps others, have violated House ethics rules and the federal bribery statute by increasing campaign donations — and agreeing to accept — in exchange for using the Oversight Committee’s power to investigate and cause permanent damage. the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins commissioned wealthy lobbyists with an ax to grind against their local sports franchise,” said Tom Jones, president of the American Accountability Foundation.


Team co-owner Dan Snyder speaks during the announcement of the Washington Football Team name change to the Washington Commanders at FedExField on Feb. 2, 2022 in Landover, Md.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The organization sent a formal letter to the House Ethics Committee on Friday urging an investigation into the congressman’s conduct. In it, the government watchdog argues that Krishnamoorthi not only violated House ethics rules, but could also have violated federal bribery laws.

Neither Krishnamoorthi nor the Manatos brothers responded to requests for comment on this story.

Krishnamoorthi has played a leading role in the investigation of Snyder and the commanders as a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. House ethics rules prohibit members from accepting gifts or campaign donations directly related to official legislative matters.


Mike Manatos initially pitched the fundraiser in an email to attendees as an opportunity to discuss with Krishnamoorthi the ongoing investigation into the team.

“The only person in Washington who may have found a way to get rid of Snyder” [as the team’s owner] is my good friend and chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee, Congresswoman Raja Krishnamoorthi,” wrote Mike Manatos. “Tom and I hope you can join us on May 10 when a small group of us meets with Raja to discuss his efforts.”

Complicating matters is the timing of the fundraiser. Just weeks earlier, Krishnamoorthi had sent a 20-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission demanding an investigation into allegations that Washington’s football franchise robbed season ticket holders and the National Football League.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, questions witnesses at a House Intelligence Committee impeachment allegation hearing in Washington, DC, Nov. 19, 2019.
(Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Krishnamoorthi, who serves as chair of the economic and consumer policy subcommittee of the oversight panel, has said he was not aware of the overture on his behalf. The congressman canceled the fundraiser shortly before it was due to take place.

However, questions remain about the nature of the fundraiser and Krishnamoorthi’s involvement.


An invitation sent along with the Manatos email and reviewed by Fox News Digital lists two individuals with the Strathdee Group as contact points for RSVPs to the event. Federal Election Commission records show that Krishnamoorthi pays the organization $5,000 a month for fundraising advice.

The American Accountability Foundation said the conflict of interest is clear and requires further investigation.

The new Washington Commanders uniforms shown on February 2, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.

The new Washington Commanders uniforms shown on February 2, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“The language in the invitation that links a fundraiser to Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s role in the team’s investigation is evidence of a corrupt quid pro quo to harm the team and its leadership,” Jones said. “By canceling the event, Representative Krishnamoorthi not only revealed his guilty conscience but also underscored the scope of his violation of both house and federal statutes.”


House Democrats launched an investigation into the Commanders and Snyder last fall after a renewed outcry that the NFL had not released a written report of its investigation into the team’s workplace. As part of the committee’s investigation, House Democrats have received hundreds of thousands of documents from the league and the team.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Snyder also surfaced when a former employee told members of Congress that the billionaire touched her thigh inappropriately at a work dinner. Snyder has vehemently denied the claims. The NFL is conducting a separate investigation into the case.

As part of the investigation, Snyder testified before the Oversight Committee for 11 hours this week.

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