GOP questions the school board group – The White House collaboration

House Republicans are demanding that top officials from the National School Boards Association appear before Congress to discuss evidence that the organization collaborated with the White House to label parents as “domestic terrorists.”

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on Parliament’s Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the NSBA on Sunday urging his interim CEO and president to make himself available for interviews.

“Parents have an undisputed right to lead the upbringing and education of their children, including expressing concerns about the inclusion of controversial curricula in their child’s education,” wrote Mr. Jordan.

Mr. Jordan told The Washington Times he wants to ask NSBA officials about the “extent” of their contact with the White House before the association sent a letter to President Biden on Sept. 29, asking for help from federal law enforcement officials to run the school. board threats.

“Who did they contact in the White House? What was discussed? Have they laid out the entire plan [together]? ” he said. “All that has to be handled.”

He also noted that the Biden administration appointed NSBA President Viola Garcia to serve on a federal board that sets student performance policies after the association sent the letter.

“She was offered a plum job on this board at the Department of Education, just two weeks after their letter was originally sent,” Mr. Jordan.

Mr. Jordan’s letter on Sunday came after documents were submitted by Parents Defending Freedom on Thursday, showing the NSBA coordinated with the White House more than two weeks before Justice Secretary Merrick Garland issued a memo ordering the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate school board threats. .

“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to the core values ​​of our nation,” he wrote. Garland. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to carry out their work without fear for their safety.

A timeline provided by Ms. Garcia reveals that her organization was in close contact with the White House in the run-up to Mr. Garland’s note on October 4th.

In the association’s letter to the president, Mrs. Garcia and NSBA’s interim CEO Chip Slaven, that parents who showed up at school board meetings to protest critical race theory and mask mandates led to incidents of harassment and intimidation.

“As these malicious acts, violence and threats against public school officials increase, the classification of these heinous acts may be equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” they wrote.

Republican lawmakers, who have been highly critical of Mr Garland’s action, said the documents confirm their worst fears.

“The more background we get about why AG Garland sent the FBI after parents, the worse it gets,” the rep said. Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican.

According to Ms. Garcia’s internal memo met with NSBA White House officials on Sept. 14 and drafted a letter to President Biden requesting federal assistance for threats against school board members.

Ms. Garcia also told NSBA colleagues that Mr Garland’s note on October 4, which instructed the FBI and other federal agencies to address the threats, was “In response to the letter,” in which the NSBA said the threats “could correspond to some form of domestic terrorism.”

NSBA’s internal documents were released Thursday by Parents Defending Education.

Amid sharp criticism of the letter, including member associations leaving the group, the NSBA apologized for the letter to Mr. Biden. Mr. Garland, however, stood by his memo, which warned federal law enforcement agencies of the potential threat from parents.

The new documents not only point to a collaboration between the Biden administration and the NSBA, but also contradict Mr Biden’s promise to have an independent Ministry of Justice.

Late. Ted Cruz said Mr Biden and Mr Garland “have politicized and armed the Justice Department on behalf of Democrats who do not want parents involved in their own children’s education.”

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Biden administration coordinated with these groups behind the scenes,” said Mr. Cruz, Texas Republicans. “AG Garland should be embarrassed by his memo and he should withdraw it.”

Late. Tom Cotton, the Republican in Arkansas, urged the Attorney General to resign in light of the revelations.

“I said it before: Merrick Garland should step back in disgrace,” he said.

During a hearing in Parliament’s Judiciary Committee last month, the Attorney General pushed back when Mr Jordan asked if the White House had asked him to write the note.

“No one in the White House spoke to me about the note at all,” Mr. Garland. “I’m sure, at least I would certainly believe that the White House has communicated its concerns over the letter to the Department of Justice, and that is entirely appropriate.”

Less than a week after the hearing, the committee’s 19 Republican members launched an investigation into a Biden-NSBA scheme.

They sent a letter to the NSBA on October 27, stating that “parents can not tolerate this secret collaboration between the NSBA and the Biden administration to construct a justification for invoking federal law enforcement to intimidate and silence parents, who use their constitutional rights to defend their child’s future. “

During a recent hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Republican of Iowa, asked Mr. Garland if he planned to withdraw the memo, as the NSBA had apologized, saying, “There was no justification for any of the language included in the letter.”

Mr. Garland stood by his directive, saying it came “in response to concerns about violence, threats of violence, other criminal behavior – that’s all it’s about.”

“The language of the letter, which they reject, is language that was never included in my note and never would have been,” he said. “I did not take over every concern that they had in their letter. I only took over the concern about violence and threats of violence, and that has not changed.”

School boards in nearly a dozen states have since severed ties with the association because of the letter.

The Washington Times contacted the Department of Justice for a comment Friday, and a spokesman said the department “would refer back” to parts of an exchange between Mr. Cotton and Mr. Garland during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on October 27.

The spokesman specifically pointed to Mr Garland’s answer to Mr Cotton’s question: “Are you aware of conversations between officials from your Department of Justice and White House officials and members of the School Board Association, who all work together?”

Mr. Garland said he was “sure” that the DOJ had talks with the White House, but that he “had no idea” if the department had talks with the NSBA – and if it did, “there is nothing wrong with that. are such conversations. ”

“Just as you ask me to worry about violence in the streets, it is … perfectly appropriate for the White House or any other organization to urge me to worry about election threats.”

He added: “There is nothing I om knew about this organization that suggests that it is in any way partisan.”

The Times also reached out to the White House for comment, and a spokesman said: “We contacted the DOJ after being notified of threats of violence because we were concerned about the trend.”

“We discussed policy – not enforcement measures,” the spokesman said. “The DOJ chose to take this approach on its own.”

Mica Soellner contributed to this report.

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