A House committee has found that there was “no legitimate basis” for the Biden administration to use Justice Department resources to target supposed “threats” to school boards across the country.
“From the initial set of material produced in response to the subpoenas, it is apparent that the Biden administration misused federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources for political purposes,” the House Judiciary Committee report concludes.
For those who have followed this story, the conclusion of the report, released on Tuesday, might seem obvious, but it’s still important to catalog how government agencies have been weaponized for partisan ends.
In 2021, a series of protests erupted at Virginia school board meetings due to the adoption of the teaching of critical race theory, as well as transgender policies and COVID-19 restrictions.
Parents were fed up with radical policies being foisted on their children and showed up en masse at school board meetings to voice their concerns. The trend repeated itself across the country, but it was particularly noteworthy in Virginia due to the tightly contested governor’s race at the time between a former governor, Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, seeking to return to office, and the eventual winner, Glenn Youngkin, a Republican.
McAuliffe went with the campaign message of what amounted to “sit down and shut up, let the experts—well, actually self-interested teachers unions—do whatever they want with your children.”
It wasn’t a winning strategy.
While the race was ongoing and parents were showing up at meetings, Attorney General Merrick Garland released a memo calling for a Justice Department investigation into “threats” to local school boards, despite having no evidence that any such danger existed. That followed a National School Boards Association letter to President Joe Biden asking for the administration to crack down on parents.
The House report found that the Justice Department’s “own documents demonstrate that there was no compelling nationwide law-enforcement justification for the Attorney General’s directive or the Department components’ execution thereof.”
What it looked like was a highly partisan operation to smear domestic political opponents as criminals and terrorists and to scare parents away from exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.
Democracy is a threat to democracy, you see. That appears to be a favorite tactic for Biden, our great uniter-in-chief.
On top of the partisan interest in silencing parents, Garland appeared to have a conflict of interest, as his son-in-law was running a multimillion-dollar operation to bring “culturally responsive training” to Virginia schools.
The House Judiciary Committee report concluded that the Biden administration’s goal seemed to have been “silencing the critics of its radical education policies and neutralizing an issue that was threatening Democrat Party prospects in the close gubernatorial race in Virginia.”
It did so with little pretense. In fact, the report concluded that the Biden administration unleashed the Justice Department to simply “quell swelling discord over controversial education curricula and unpopular school board decisions.”
“This weaponization of law-enforcement powers against American parents exercising their First Amendment rights is dangerous,” the report said. “The Justice Department subjected moms and dads to the opening of an FBI investigation about them, the establishment of an FBI case file that includes their political views, and the application of a ‘threat tag’ to their names as a direct result of their exercise of their fundamental constitutional right to speak and advocate for their children.”
So, the next question is: What will the House do, given the evidence that the administration is using federal agencies to assault the constitutionally protected rights of American citizens? The FBI seems to have been thoroughly politicized, but the problem seems to be bigger than any single agency.
The report said that the committee will continue investigating the matter. That’s good, but the American people need to be assured that this sort of abuse will be corrected and won’t happen again.
At the very least, Republicans in Congress should be doing everything they can to prevent the expansion of other agencies. One of the biggest concerns about the massive IRS expansion is how it will be used to harass and threaten the average American.
After all, an administration that’s spent the past few years spending huge sums of money we don’t have has every reason to shake down Americans and get them to pay more than they owe. In using the Justice Department for its own partisan ends, shouldn’t we expect this administration to use other agencies in a similar manner?
The Garland memo represented the predictable intersectionality of ideological enforcement and partisan—and perhaps even personal—interests.
This type of governance is common in Communist China, where you can have your tyranny pure. We used to expect better in the United States.
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