Senate Republicans are making inquiries into the Department of Justice and Education Department over the National School Board Association (NSBA) letter where parents were compared to domestic terrorists, followed by a DOJ memo.
Ten Republican senators, led by Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent letters to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona regarding the highly criticized correspondence.
Emails reviewed by Fox News showed that a top NSBA official indicated that Secretary Cardona solicited the NSBA letter.
The Education Department denies that it did. The letter to Cardona reads, “That letter was the proximate cause of Attorney General Garland issuing a memorandum on October 4, 2021, directing the FBI and the various U.S. Attorneys to focus on harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence directed at school officials.”
The letter continued, “That action by Attorney General Garland has created a dramatic chilling effect on parents throughout the country and is an inappropriate deployment of federal law enforcement.”
Senators referenced the Fox News report about the email solicitation, stating that it “makes the case” that Sec. Cardona “played an instrumental role in starting these events.”
The Republicans continued, writing, “This is extremely concerning to us. It appears that you, the Secretary of Education, instructed a trade association to write a letter to the President of the United States so that the Attorney General might have the requisite cover to deploy federal law enforcement in a manner so as to scare American parents out of speaking freely at school-board meetings and petitioning their local governments.”
In the Republicans’ letter to Garland, the lawmakers pointed out that the NSBA letter was the “proximate cause” behind the memo.
The letter to Garland reads, “We now have reason to believe personnel at the NSBA coordinated its September 29 letter with or acted at the behest of, the sitting Secretary of Education, as well as White House personnel — in a letter that asks for the PATRIOT Act to be used against American parents.”
Lawmakers told Garland that acting Assistant Attorney General Peter S. Hyun’s “one-page” response to the two previous letters they sent him regarding the issue is “incomplete.”
“It points to statements from your October 4 memorandum discussing how spirited debate is protected by the First Amendment and that it is the Department of Justice’s job to ensure the safety of all Americans, but frankly, those issues were not the focus of our two letters to you on this matter,” they wrote.
“Rather, we asked you to withdraw your October 4 memorandum because of the chilling effect it has on the speech of American parents.”
The letter continued, “By involving the National Security Division and the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI in local matters, you have created widespread fear that the national security apparatus of the United States is keeping tabs on them.”
Both letters directed a litany of questions at secretaries Garland and Cardona about the letter, which was used in a Department of Justice memo mobilizing the FBI against parents “in support of local education officials.”
According to a Department of Education spokesperson’s statement to Fox News Digital, “While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders, and education associations.”
Previously released emails revealed that the NSBA was in contact with the Justice Department and White House in the weeks before it publicly sent the letter.
Senator Grassley authored the letters to Cardona and Garland, accompanied by 10 additional high-profile Republican senators, including Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas.