WASHINGTON, DC – American First Legal (AFL) applauds Parents Defending Education for their tremendous work in exposing and confirming the egregious fact pattern first advanced by AFL about Attorney General Merrick Garland’s infamous October 4th memorandum—specifically, that the National School Boards Association (NSBA) coordinated with the White House and the Department of Justice prior to the release of the memorandum. The Biden Administration had apparently crafted a plan to make it appear to the American people that the NSBA’s letter and the Attorney General’s memorandum happened organically, but the truth is far more sinister.
America First Legal is proud of the work being advanced by the courageous leaders and members of Parents Defending Education to expose the blatantly unlawful facts surrounding efforts by the Biden Administration to chill the free speech of parents across the country. As outlined in AFL’s October 7th letter requesting the Department of Justice’s Inspector General to open an investigation into the October 4th memorandum:
– In early September, Biden Administration stakeholders held discussions regarding avenues for potential federal action against parents with a key Biden Domestic Policy Council official (Jane Doe #1) and White House staff (John Doe #1). Stakeholders also held discussions with senior department officials, including at least one political appointee in the [Department of Justice’s] Civil Rights Division (Jane Doe #2). Jane Doe #1, John Doe #1, and others in the White House separately expressed concern regarding the potential partisan political impact of parent mobilization and organization around school issues in the upcoming midterm elections.
– Upon information and belief, at the express direction of or with the express consent of Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2 and other Biden Administration officials developed a plan to use a letter from an outside group (“not the usual suspects”) as pretext for federal action to chill, deter, and discourage parents from exercising their constitutional rights and privileges.
– Upon information and belief, in or about mid-September work began on development of what became the Attorney General’s Memorandum. Concerns expressed by department staff included (1) the absence of federal law enforcement nexus and authority, and (2) the constitutionally protected nature of parent protests. However, Jane Doe #2 made it clear this was a White House priority and a deliverable would be created.
– On or about September 29, citing legal authorities including the Patriot Act, the “National School Boards Association” made public a letter demanding federal action against parents citing authorities including the Patriot Act. The justification for federal action included, inter alia, parents were “posting watchlists against school boards and spreading misinformation (sic) that boards are adopting critical race theory curriculum and working to maintain online learning by haphazardly attributing it to COVID-19.”6 It is not yet clear whether and to what extent drafts of this letter were shared with Biden Administration officials, including Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2, and whether changes were suggested or made by them, prior to the ostensible public release date.
As detailed in the results of a FOIA submitted by Parents Defending Education, that is exactly what happened.
As Parents Defending Education wrote when explaining the results of the FOIA, “[i]n a memo dated October 12 . . . sent to NSBA state association officers and executive directors, Viola Garcia provided a timeline of the NSBA’s interaction with the WHite House on the September 29 letter.” Specifically, “[t]his memo asserts that the NSBA’s Organization of State Association Executive Directors were notified on September 14 about a White House meeting, and that on September 17 that state association executive directors were notified that ‘a letter requesting federal assistance’ would be sent.” Parents Defending Education’s work confirming these critical details is a tremendous step forward in delivering justice and accountability for America parents and children everywhere.
Since early October, America First Legal has led the charge in exposing the coordination between the NSBA, the DOJ, and the White House that led to the DOJ’s Oct. 4th memo weaponizing federal law enforcement, including the FBI, to chill the First Amendment rights of parents who are concerned about teaching Critical Race Theory and extreme gender ideology in schools. The work by Parents Defending Education reinforces a critical question: Why did the Administration go to such great lengths to make it seem as though the NSBA letter prompted the October 4 Memo if they were, in fact, pre-coordinated? What is it that the Administration and DOJ are trying to hide? AFL will continue digging to answer these questions, and expose the truth about how legitimate law enforcement tools are being weaponized against parents across the country.
Read more about AFL’s work from:
Oct. 5th — America First Legal came out swinging against the Biden Administration for weaponizing the Department of Justice, with the prospect of FBI agents scoping out school board meetings, to chill the free speech rights of concerned parents.
Oct. 7th — America First Legal filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records from the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the outrageous October 4 memorandum mobilizing the FBI, the Criminal Division, the National Security Division, the Civil Rights Division, and all U.S. Attorneys to deter parents from exercising their Constitutional rights to speak out against Critical Race Theory and other forms of anti-American indoctrination in public schools.
Oct. 7th — America First Legal requested that the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigate the circumstances surrounding Attorney General Garland’s October 4th memorandum regarding the use of federal law enforcement against parents opposed to critical race theory, gender ideology, and irrational mask mandates in public schools.
Oct. 13th — America First Legal filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Justice seeking records bearing on potential conflict of interest concerns created by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s October 4, 2021 memorandum mobilizing the Department’s National Security Division and the FBI against parents speaking out against Critical Race Theory and extreme gender ideology indoctrination in public schools.
Oct. 27th — America First Legal filed a request for investigation with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s appointment of Viola Garcia, President of the National School Boards Association, to the National Assessment Governing Board.
Oct. 29th — America First Legal filed a request for investigation with the Office of Government Ethics regarding Attorney General Merrick Garland’s compliance with conflict of interest regulations.
Statement from America First Legal Vice President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton:
“The Biden Administration’s pre-planned assault on the rights of American parents everywhere—ironically, using the power of the Department of ‘Justice’—will be exposed. It will take continued work, like that done by the patriots at Parents Defending Education, but it will happen. We will hold the Administration accountable for this unprecedented assault on the fundamental rights of all Americans,” Gene Hamilton said.
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