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A group of 14 states has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Biden administration seeking any information about whether the FBI conducted surveillance on parents who speak out at school board meetings.
The suit comes on the heels of an appeal to the Justice Department last fall by the National School Boards Association to treat parents who express concerns about curriculum and other local school policies as domestic terrorists.
The suit also comes after the Biden administration refused to respond to FOIA requests filed by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, and other states attempting to obtain communications among federal officials ahead of the October 2021 “threats” memo.
Now, Rokita is taking the lead in the FOIA lawsuit but he is joined by attorneys general in Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, The Daily Wire reported.
“We just want the facts,” said Rokita. “Rather than cooperate, the Biden administration has sought to conceal and downplay its culpability. What are they hiding? Why won’t they come clean? Hoosiers and all Americans deserve to know.”
The Daily Wire adds:
The lawsuit takes aim at Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. The AGs are asking a U.S. district court to instruct the administration to respond to the requests, according to Fox News. The White House declined to comment on the lawsuit, and directed The Daily Wire to the DOJ.
NSBA’s letter was followed by Garland directing the FBI in a memo to lead a task force addressing threats to school officials and report the threats. A spokesperson for the White House then claimed it was not involved in the DOJ memo and that the department “chose to take this approach on their own.”
Nevertheless, Garland testified to Congress in October that he was “sure that the communication from the National Association of School Boards was discussed between the White House and the Justice Department and that’s perfectly appropriate,” the lawsuit notes.
Not long after the memo was issued, GOP attorneys general demanded that it be rescinded and the government “cease any further actions designed to intimidate parents from expressing their opinions on the education of their children,” the suit notes, adding the AGs also requested the government “respect their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to raise their children.”
In November, a bombshell whistleblower report dropped by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) indicated that the Biden Justice Department’s National Security Division had begun targeting parents who attend school board meetings.
Jordan posted a memo to his social media accounts obtained by a whistleblower indicating that the FBI’s counterterrorism unit created a “threat tag” for U.S. attorneys to use in order to track cases involving alleged threats by parents against school board officials, teachers, and school staff in response to a highly controversial memo issued last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Fox News reported:
An Oct. 20 internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions, released Tuesday by House Republicans, instructed agents to apply the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” to all investigations and assessments of threats directed specifically at education officials.
The email also directs FBI agents to consider whether the criminal activity being investigated is in violation of federal law and what the potential “motivation” is behind it.
“The purpose of the threat tag is to help scope this threat on a national level, and provide an opportunity for comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective engagement with law enforcement partners at all levels,” the email stated.
Jordan also fired off a letter to Garland in which he said the AG’s prior testimony to Congress appears to differ from his actions.
“I can’t imagine in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism,” Garland told the House Judiciary Committee last month.