WASHINGTON—Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed today during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he plans to continue to use the power of the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement agencies to intimidate and investigate parents who oppose and speak out against the teaching of radical, divisive concepts like critical race and gender theory in classrooms across the country.
Heritage President Kay C. James, a former member of the Virginia State School Board and Fairfax County School Board, released the following statement Wednesday in response to Garland’s testimony and his continued misuse of federal authority:
“This shameful politicization of the Department of Justice to harass and threaten parents who are simply speaking out on behalf of their children is unacceptable and casts a dark cloud over the entire department. Attorney General Garland refuses to stop his flagrant misuse of the law enforcement and prosecutorial power of the federal government, even after the National School Board Association apologized for the letter that supposedly precipitated Garland’s action.
“Congress has a solemn obligation to use every constitutional tool available, including funding mechanisms and pending nominations, to force the Department of Justice to stop this unprecedented, dangerous abuse. Any potential collusion between the administration and the NSBA cannot be ignored.
“Today, The Heritage Foundation is calling on Congress to assert its full authority and use every conceivable tool, including the withholding of departmental or programmatic funding and a halt to pending nominations, to hold the Biden administration accountable for this attack on parents.”
Congress should demand the following of the Biden administration:
- The Department of Justice must immediately retract the Oct. 4, 2021, memorandum, which was issued in reaction to a since-retracted Sept. 29, 2021, letter from the National School Boards Association to the White House urging the Department of Justice to view parent protests at school boards as a form of “domestic terrorism.”
- The Department of Justice inspector general must initiate an independent investigation into the matter.
- Attorney General Garland must submit to an ethics review, given his son-in-law’s business interests in promoting critical race theory curricula and professional promotion of so-called “Social and Emotional Learning.”
- The White House, FBI, Department of Justice, and Department of Education must fully comply with all congressional member requests for documents and information specifically regarding:
- Contacts between the White House and these departments regarding the memorandum explaining how a memorandum sent by the NSBA on Sept. 29, 2021, became a DOJ memorandum on Oct. 4, 2021.
- Contacts between the National School Board Association and the federal government from January 2021 to the present day, including all officials within the executive branch.
- What steps the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation have taken to comply with the DOJ memorandum, including any individuals or organizations targeted by these improper and illegal investigations, as well as an accounting of the resources diverted from other law enforcement priorities to comply with this initiative.
- What legal review was taken to ensure that the memorandum did not infringe on the constitutional rights of parents to speak freely, to petition their government, to associate with other concerned parents and organizations, and to exercise their parental control and authority over their children.
- What data and legal authorities were relied upon to justify this memorandum targeting parents.
- The White House must rescind the appointment of Viola Garcia, president of the National School Boards Association, to the National Assessment Governing Board, since no individual who promotes and supports such abuse of government power should be in any position of public trust.
These actions are a necessary first step to begin undoing the damage caused by this politicization of the Department of Justice and to reassure parents that members of their own government will not label them domestic terrorists and threaten their freedoms in pursuit of political ambitions.