Attorney General had ‘no legitimate basis’ to order FBI on parents at school board meetings, House Republicans find

Daily Caller News Foundation

House Republicans found that Attorney General Merrick Garland had “no legitimate basis” to direct the FBI to “use its authority” on parents who protested at school board meetings, according to a report.

Local U.S. Attorney’s offices found that Garland’s directive was “very poorly received” and that local law enforcement did not “see any imminent threats to school boards or their members,” according to a Tuesday report by the Committee on the Judiciary, which is conducting oversight of the Biden administration’s use of law enforcement resources on local parents. The report comes as a response to the National School Boards Association letter sent to the Biden administration in 2021 comparing parents at school board meetings to “domestic terrorists,” causing Garland to issue his directive.

“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,” the report read. “After surveying local law enforcement, U.S. Attorney’s offices around the country reported back to Main Justice that there was no legitimate law-enforcement basis for the Attorney General’s directive to use federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources to investigate school board-related threats.”

Of the threats to school board members reported by local officials, most did not relate to political matters, the report found. In Alabama, a school board member’s house was shot at but because of the “unfortunate consequence of gun violence in the city” rather than politics.

A local attorney’s office reported that Garland’s directive was “very poorly received” and found it to be a “manufactured issue,” the report stated. Another office reported that there were no threats against its local school boards, “nor did they ascertain any worrisome trends in that regard.”

“No one I spoke with in law enforcement seemed to think that there is a serious national threat directed at school boards, which gave the impression that our priorities are misapplied,” a local attorney’s office stated.

The FBI opened 25 investigations into “school board threats,” six of which the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division conducted, the report stated. One investigation was opened into a mother because she was a gun owner and a member of a “right-wing mom’s group” while a father was investigated because he “rails against the government.”

None of the FBI’s investigations opened into the “school board threats” have resulted in federal charges or arrests, the report found.

“This weaponization of law-enforcement powers against American parents exercising their First Amendment rights is dangerous,” the report stated. “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.”

The FBI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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