Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland to demand an explanation concerning his memorandum to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over “serious concerns” regarding parents at school board meetings.
The letter, first reported by the Daily Caller, was led by Lousiana Rep. Mike Johnson and joined by 18 additional GOP House members on the committee.
“This letter is to express our serious concerns about your recent decision to involve federal law enforcement entities in local school board debates and to stifle First Amendment-protected political speech. Your actions are not just inappropriate, but also appear to have been improperly influenced by politics and by your family’s interest in the matter,” the representatives wrote.
“As members of the House Committee on the Judiciary, we have a responsibility to conduct oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and we trust that you will fully cooperate with our inquiry,” they added.
Part of the letter’s request included a call for Garland to submit himself to an ethics investigation.
The House members concluded with the “request you promptly consult with the designated agency ethics official to determine if your actions in this matter have resulted in an ethics violation for a breach of impartiality.”
“Judiciary Republicans trust that Mr. Garland will submit to our requested ethics inquiry, publicly release its results, and take whatever actions are necessary to protect the integrity of the office of Attorney General, including either recusing himself from this issue and/or rescinding the October 4th memorandum,” Johnson told the Daily Caller.
Part of the controversy stems from allegations that Garland’s son-in-law profits from work to promote critical race theory.
“The Justice Department usually has very broad standards for the appearance of impropriety that would trigger at least the inquiry into whether there was a conflict of interest,” former U.S. Assistant Attorney Andy McCarthy said during a recent interview with Fox News.
Garland’s son-in-law reportedly co-founded and works with the company Panorama Education. An educational workshop released by the company includes materials that promote critical race theory and fixate on overcoming “white supremacy,” according to Fox.
“The idea is that Garland’s son-in-law is profiting lucratively from peddling this stuff to the schools. And Garland, even though the Justice Department doesn’t appear to have jurisdiction to do what it’s done, is siccing the FBI on parents who are dissenting against these kinds of materials,” McCarthy added.
“In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s schools,” the attorney general wrote.
“The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate,” Garland continued.
“In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel,” he went on. “Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation’s nearly 14,000 public school districts.”
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