Jim Jordan pushes White House for more information on FBI targeting parents

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The south side of the White House is photographed from the South Lawn, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. (Official White House photo by Cameron Smith)
The south side of the White House is photographed from the South Lawn, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. (Official White House photo by Cameron Smith)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Fred Lucas
The Daily Signal

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is pressing the Biden administration for more answers about targeting parents at school board meetings, in a letter Tuesday to White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients.

The letter from the Republican Ohio congressman inquires on the use of counterterrorism tools against parents speaking at various school board meetings across the country.

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The letter also renews the House Judiciary Committee’s requests for records about White House senior adviser Mary C. Wall, who was a liaison between the White House and the National School Boards Association that advocated for the FBI to investigate parents who brought up uncomfortable topics.

“Based on documents and testimonial evidence received to date, it appears that Mary C. Wall, a Senior Advisor to the President, was the conduit between the White House and Executive Branch officials across multiple agencies, as well as the conduit between the White House and the NSBA,” says the Jordan letter to Zients.

Jordan is also the chairman of the Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

The school boards association sent a letter to Biden urging him to use the Patriot Act against parents in 2021. Emails later showed how the Biden White House had advance knowledge of this letter and its contents and raised no objection.

Judiciary Committee Republicans contend evidence shows the White House was heavily involved in the administration’s targeting of parents. But executive branch agencies have declined to provide any documents pertaining to the White House.

Even before gaining a majority in the House, Republican members of the Judiciary Committee sent over 100 letters to Biden administration officials requesting information about how the administration used federal counterterrorism resources against parents.

Whistleblowers have disclosed that shortly after Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4, 2021, memorandum, the FBI’s Counterterrorism and Criminal divisions created a specific “threat tag” for school board-related threats and opened investigations into parents for speaking at meetings on controversial school topics.

Garland’s directive came after the school board’s association letter to Biden that promoted using the Patriot Act.

On Feb. 3, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the FBI, Department of Justice, and Department of Education for documents concerning the White House’s involvement in this use of counterterrorism and criminal tools.

The Jordan letter goes on to cite a September 2021 message that shows Wall asked the school boards association if she could “take a look at the letter [to President Biden] in advance of [its] release” to inform her discussions with other White House officials and Justice Department officials the next day.

“Is there any way we can take a look at the letter in advance of release?” Wall wrote in the email message to then-National School Boards Association interim CEO Chip Slaven. “In specific, I’m meeting w colleagues from other WH offices and DOJ tomorrow morning to see if there might be any options we can pursue here, so if you have concrete recommendations in your letter (e.g., the threat assessment you mentioned), would be good to know so I can include in discussions.”

Slaven sent back a response to Wall with a summary of the contents, including language from the Patriot Act and the use of domestic terrorism tools.

“Although the committee does not know how Ms. Wall used this information, the final letter sent to President Biden included the language about the PATRIOT Act and use of domestic terrorism tools in the context of addressing threats at school board meetings,” the Jordan letter says. “Despite Ms. Wall’s email to the NSBA referencing communications with DOJ, it has not produced any communications between Ms. Wall and its employees.”

The letter says the committee found the White House had advance notice of the request from the school boards association.

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“For the committee to fully and effectively fulfill its oversight of how the NSBA’s letter to President Biden could result in the FBI misusing counterterrorism and criminal resources to investigate American moms and dads, it is apparent that the committee must obtain documents and communications in the custody and control of the EOP [executive office of the president],” Jordan’s letter to Zients says.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]


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