Senate Republicans probe Education Department, DOJ over NSBA letter

Senate Judiciary Commitee ranking member Chuck Grassley, 爱荷华州, led ten of his fellow Republican senators in a pair of letters to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the widely criticized NSBA correspondence.

Emails reviewed by Fox News show a top NSBA official indicating that Cardona solicited the NSBA letter, although the Education Department denies that he did so.

EDUCATION SECRETARY CARDONA SOLICITED NSBA LETTER PARING PROTESTING PARENTS TO DOMESTIC TERRORISTS: EMAIL

Miguel Cardona speaks after President-Elect Joe Biden announced him as his nominee for Education Secretary at the Queen theater on Dec. 23, 2020, 在威尔明顿, 特拉华州.

Miguel Cardona speaks after President-Elect Joe Biden announced him as his nominee for Education Secretary at the Queen theater on Dec. 23, 2020, 在威尔明顿, 特拉华州. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

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, 恐吓, and threats of violence directed at school officials,” 的 信件 to Cardona reads.

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,” the letter continues.

The senators referenced the Fox News report on the email solicitation, saying itmakes the casethat Cardonaplayed an instrumental role in starting these events.

我们. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice on Jan. 5, 2022, 在华盛顿, 直流. Garland addressed the Jan. 6, 2021, 攻击美国. 国会大厦.

我们. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice on Jan. 5, 2022, 在华盛顿, 直流. Garland addressed the Jan. 6, 2021, 攻击美国. 国会大厦. (Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)

This is extremely concerning to us,” the Republicans wrote. “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.

在里面 信件 to Garland, the lawmakers also pointed out that the NSBA letter was theproximate causebehind the memo.

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,” the letter to Garland reads.

它的. 查克·格拉斯利

它的. 查克·格拉斯利 (福克斯新闻)

The lawmakers also told Garland that they believe that acting Assistant Attorney General Peter S. Hyun’s Dec. 22, 2021, “one-pageresponse to the senators’ two previous letters on the issue isincomplete.

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,” 信上写着. “相当, we asked you to withdraw your October 4 memorandum because of the chilling effect it has on the speech of American parents.

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,” the letter continues.

Both letters shot a litany of questions at the two 内阁 secretaries about the letter, which was used in a DOJ memo mobilizing the FBIin support of local education officials.

While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, 老师, 父母, district leaders and education associations,” a Department of Education spokesperson previously told Fox News Digital.

Previous emails had revealed that the NSBA was in contact with the White House and Justice Department in the weeks before it publicly sent the letter.

Joining Grassley on the letter are 10 high-profile Republican senators, including John Cornyn and 泰德·克鲁斯 德克萨斯州, 内布拉斯加州的本萨斯, 乔什·霍利 密苏里州, 和 汤姆·科顿 of Arkansas.

Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed reporting.

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