13 GOP-Led States Sue Biden Administration, Seek Records of FBI Surveillance of Parents

Posted: Mar 04, 2022 9:30 PM
13 GOP-Led States Sue Biden Administration, Seek Records of FBI Surveillance of Parents

Source: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File

Thirteen Republican states have filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Biden administration seeking records of any surveillance of parents protesting at school board meetings conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is leading the lawsuit against President Joe Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, claiming that administration officials failed to honor FOIA requests.

Indiana, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah have all signed on to the lawsuit, according to Fox News Digital.

The National School Boards Association sent a letter to the White House on Sept. 29 requesting federal assistance to deal with "threats of violence" against school board officials that the organization likened to "a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes." The NSBA also asked that the federal government use the Patriot Act to prevent alleged threats of violence at school board meetings.

The NSBA has since apologized for the language used in its letter.

And emails obtained in January by nonprofit group Parents Defending Education revealed that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona solicited the NSBA's letter. Yet, the Department of Education denies that Cardona had asked for the letter.

Just days after the NSBA sent its letter to the White House, Garland issued a memo on Oct. 4 directing the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to "address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff."

During an October testimony in front of Congress, Garland refused to retract his memo even after the NSBA apologized for its letter because he did not adopt the same language. This, despite him also testifying that the memo was crafted in response to the NSBA's letter.

"Attorney General Garland testified in Congress that his Memorandum was based on a now debunked and rescinded letter drafted by individuals in the Federal Government (EOP, ED, and DOJ) working with the National School Boards Association ('NSBA') dated September 29, 2021," the lawsuit reads. 

"This letter, from the NSBA to President Biden, called on him to invoke 'the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism,' arguing that as 'acts of malice, violence and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,'" it continues.

Emails obtained in November by Parents Defending Education found that the NSBA was in communication with the White House and the Department of Justice for several weeks prior to its Sept. 29 letter.