A conservative group is demanding answers about whether the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden is repeating its 2021 strategy of targeting concerned parents after the Southern Poverty Law Center just added concerned parents to its “hate map.”

SPLC staff have met with Biden at the White House, and the administration has adopted the “book banning” rhetoric many activists use to slam parents concerned about sexually explicit books in school libraries.

“The Biden administration, including the Department of Justice, has demonstrated that it will work with outside political organizations to trample on the rights of parents who exercise their constitutional rights by speaking out on the woke takeover of America’s public schools,” Ian Prior, senior adviser at America First Legal, told The Daily Signal in a statement Wednesday.

“The SPLC’s move to designate parent organizations as ‘hate groups’ is eerily similar to the activities of the National School Boards Association in the fall of 2021, and America First Legal intends to fully investigate any coordination between the SPLC and the Department of Justice,” he added.

America First Legal filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking the DOJ to turn over documents related to the SPLC and SPLC staff.

Prior had referred to a letter from the National School Boards Association to Biden, in which the school board group likened parents who protest school district policies to domestic terrorists. The letter encouraged Biden to use the Patriot Act against those parents. Later documents revealed that the White House had worked with the school boards association to draft the letter. The DOJ issued a memo urging the investigation of concerned parents, following the letter.

The DOJ ultimately rescinded the memo, and the National School Boards Association apologized for the letter. But, as The Daily Signal recently reported, recent developments suggest the SPLC may be fulfilling the association’s role in another round of attacks on parents.

On June 6, the SPLC added parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty to its “hate map,” branding them “anti-government extremist groups” and part of an “anti-student inclusion movement.”

The SPLC attacked parental rights groups for opposing the leftward lurch in education that the SPLC itself supports—transgender lessons, sexually explicit books in school libraries, and critical race theory, which frames America as an institutionally racist country and blacks as inherently oppressed. The SPLC advocates such education through its Learning for Justice program.

As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC routinely brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as “hate groups.” It tars religious freedom organizations, such as Alliance Defending Freedom, as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups,” and that smear inspired a gunman to target the Family Research Council for a terrorist attack in 2012.

Two days after the SPLC released its “hate map” and list of “hate groups” for 2022, the White House on June 8 released a strategy “to Protect LGBTQI+ Communities.” That strategy cites “federal threat monitoring” showing that LGBT individuals face threats “increasingly tied to hate groups and domestic violent extremists.” The Biden administration’s strategy also announced that the DOJ will take “an all-of-Department approach to protecting LGBTQI+ rights,” touting the DOJ’s United Against Hate initiative.

The strategy also aims to “shield LGBTQI+ Americans from book bans,” announcing that the Department of Education would seek to counter efforts by parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty to protect children from sexually explicit books in school.

Biden personally met with SPLC staff six times since January 2021, according to White House records, and SPLC staff attended White House meetings at least 11 times in that same period.

America First Legal cites these and other pertinent facts in its Freedom of Information Act request.

The legal organization cites Daily Signal reporting on the chilling threats Moms for Liberty has received after the SPLC attacked the parental rights group.

Moms for Liberty received various threats, including messages such as “I will personally eradicate you from Massachusetts,” and “piece of s— fascists like you deserve to be dragged against a wall and force-fed hot lead. Eat s— and die.”

“At the behest of its leftist teacher union allies, the Biden administration has weaponized the federal domestic intelligence community and law enforcement to intimidate parents, deter them from protecting their children, and undermine their First Amendment rights,” the request notes.

America First Legal is asking the DOJ to hand over records of meetings with SPLC staff, particularly the staffers who meet with Biden officials at the White House, records of communications with SPLC staff, all records relating to the SPLC’s 2022 “hate” report, and all communications referencing SPLC, Moms for Liberty, Parents Defending Education, and terms related to parental rights.

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