Attorney General Merrick Garland received a subpoena Friday from the House Judiciary Committee. The Committee has increased its efforts to gather information from the Justice Department (DOJ) on how concerned parents at school board meetings were handled.
The subpoena instructs Garland to provide numerous items that chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has repeatedly requested from the DOJ since the issue first surfaced surrounding school boards. In October 2021, while Jordan was a ranking member of the Committee, he contacted Garland about a directive he had issued to the FBI concerning a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school administrators.
Garland acknowledged during a committee hearing that he had sent the FBI directive following the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sending a letter to the White House. The NSBA later retracted their request to have the White House investigate parents, accusing them of being possible “domestic terrorists” for being upset over the issues taking place in schools.
Jordan accused the DOJ of using the NSBA’s letter as a “pretext for the use of federal law enforcement,” intimidating parents and violating the right of parents to speak out on behalf of their children. Jordan said this could “chill the First Amendment rights” of parents.
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The Committee’s subpoena requests items Jordan has been attempting to attain from the DOJ, including all correspondence between the President’s advisor and the DOJ regarding the National School Board,
“You, the Honorable Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General, are required to produce the following items in your possession, custody, or control, from January 20, 2021, to present, in unredacted form,”
“All documents and communications between Mary Wall, Senior Policy Advisor to the President, and any Department of Justice employee(s) referring or relating to the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) letter dated September 29, 2021; the Attorney General’s memorandum dated October 4, 2021; or alleged threats or violence at school board meetings.”
The subpoena instructs DOJ Garland to produce the required documents by March 1 at 9:00 a.m. to the committee.
Jordan has threatened to resort to legal means if necessary to compel agencies to respond to his demands. This is the first subpoena Congress has issued during the GOP-led session. As House Judiciary Committee Chair, Jordan will likely pursue numerous issues with Garland’s troubled DOJ.
Jordan also subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday. Wray is also obligated to turn over documents and any communications related to the FBI’s “misuse of federal criminal and counterterrorism resources,” which sought to target parents who spoke out to criticize school boards. Wray has been instructed to produce all documents that “direct the FBI to partner with local law enforcement and U.S. attorneys to identify parental threats at school board meetings against faculty and “prosecute them when appropriate.”