House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee found the Biden administration had “no legitimate basis” for deploying counterterrorism resources against concerned parents who showed up at school board meetings, a Tuesday report concluded.
The House Judiciary Committee published the interim staff report with the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, accusing Attorney General Merrick Garland of colluding with left-wing interests to intimidate parents.
“It appears, from these documents and the information received previously,” read the report, “that the Administration’s actions were a political offensive meant to quell swelling discord over controversial education curricula and unpopular school board decisions.”
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee led by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan launched an investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) days after the attorney general issued an October 2021 memorandum directing the FBI to label activist parents with “threat tags.” Garland’s guidance came five days after the White House approved recommendations from the National School Board Association (NSBA) that encouraged using counterterrorism measures against parents who spoke up at meetings. The letter itself was commissioned by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona as parental rights in education became a focal point in the competitive Virginia gubernatorial contest.
“The NSBA shared the draft language of its letter with the White House, which apparently raised no concerns with the reference to counterterrorism tools of the inclusion of the Patriot Act in the letter,” the Judiciary report read.
Garland established a task force in response, including agencies responsible for enforcing counterterrorism statutes. The attorney general also encouraged the use of an FBI tip line for individuals to flag parents for surveillance.
Jordan’s committee subpoenaed Garland, Cardona, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and members of the NSBA over the course of its investigation.
Whistleblower documents suggest Garland lied about the scandal when testifying before the committee over the issue.
“From the initial set of material produced in response to the subpoenas, it is apparent that the Biden administration misused federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources for political purposes,” the report concluded.
None of the FBI’s school board-related investigations led to federal arrests or charges, the committee found.
School boards nationwide dropped their affiliation with the NSBA in response to the letter becoming public in fall 2021. Nebraska became the 25th state to cut ties with the group last summer.
“We regret and apologize for the letter,” NSBA leadership wrote to members after it was revealed the group sought to stick federal law enforcement on parents. “To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue. However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
The House Judiciary Committee demanded Garland repeal the 2021 memorandum targeting concerned parents at school board meetings with terrorist “threat tags.” Garland, however, has refused.