Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined her Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanding Attorney General Merrick Garland withdraw the memo he issued that connected parents to domestic terrorists.
Furthermore, during the Department of Justice’s investigation, the organization used the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterterrorism unit.
The lawmakers also want Garland to confirm that the federal government does not equate concerned parents with domestic terrorists.
“Parents and other citizens who get impassioned at school-board meetings are not domestic terrorists. You may believe that, but too many people involved in this issue seem to think harsh words can be criminalized. Getting the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division involved in the matter only makes this worse—dramatically worse,” the senators wrote.
Blowback from Garland’s decision was swift and heavy, including during his testimony before the Senate committee. The National School Board Association (NSBA) apologized for a letter sent to the Biden administration that led to Garland’s decision.
However, multiple state school board associations have removed themselves from being aligned with the NSBA.
Garland has maintained that parents have a right to free speech, but critics argue his actions are different.
“However, it should be abundantly clear to you now that no matter what your claimed intention was at the time of issuing that memo, the subsequent reaction of American parents and the public shows it has had a clear chilling effect on them. Since you issued your October 4 memorandum, all of us have received hundreds of letters and emails from our constituents who are angry and concerned about the idea that the FBI will be tracking what they say at local school board meetings,” the letter continued.
The issue became a central campaign focus in many recent elections, including Republican Glenn Youngkin’s win in Virginia.
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