Jordan subpoenas Garland, Wray over school board memo

Posted 43 days ago


Editor’s note: Virgin Islands Del. Stacey Plaskett is the top Democrat on a Judiciary subcommittee established by the GOP to examine the “weaponization” of the federal government. The information was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

The House Judiciary Committee fired off its first subpoenas under the leadership of Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), targeting a trio of Biden administration officials including Attorney General Merrick Garland over a short-lived memo dealing with threats against school board members.

The subpoenas, sent also to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, follow a series of more than 100 letters on the 2021 memo from Judiciary Republicans.

Garland signed the memo in October of last year, noting a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff” amid broader discussion over COVID-19 policies and how issues like race and gender are addressed at school.

Though little resulted from the memo, Republicans have remained laser-focused on it.

The subpoena, reviewed by The Hill, asks for all communications between the entities and the National School Boards Association, which first wrote to DOJ asking for help in dealing with rising threats.

Jordan has repeatedly claimed the memo is a way for the Biden administration to label parents as domestic terrorists, though the FBI never charged a single parent in connection with the directive — something the chair pointed out in a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“The chilling impact on the First Amendment free speech is what we care about,” he said during the interview.

“School board writes a letter on Sept. 29th. Five days later, the Attorney General of the United States issues a memorandum to 101 U. S. attorneys offices around the country saying, ‘Set up this line that they can report on.’ … When have you ever seen the federal government move that fast?” he asked.

Democrats immediately pushed back on the effort, accusing Jordan of peddling conspiracy theories in attacking a short-lived DOJ effort designed to respond to violent threats.

“The conspiracy theories underpinning today’s subpoenas have been debunked with facts time and time again, but Republicans do not want to be bothered by this inconvenient truth. There is no amount of documents that will satisfy the MAGA obsession with conspiracies,” said Del. Stacey Plaskett (V. I.), the top Democrat on a Judiciary subcommittee established by the GOP to examine the “weaponization” of the federal government.

The Justice Department declined to comment Friday, but Garland and Wray have previously taken numerous questions on the matter during appearances before Congress — something the FBI pointed to in pushing back on claims it had been unresponsive to Jordan.

“As Director Wray and other FBI officials have stated clearly on numerous occasions before Congress and elsewhere, the FBI has never been in the business of investigating speech or policing speech at school board meetings or anywhere else, and we never will be. Our focus is and always will be on protecting people from violence and threats of violence,” the agency said in a statement.... (Read more)