Attorney General Merrick Garland denied Thursday knowing about the Northern Virginia school rape and suggested he called for federal investigations of parents without independently confirming a spike in threats made to school boards and teachers.
During the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, republican lawmakers questioned Garland over his call on the FBI and Justice Department to address “violent threats” made by parent activists against teachers and school boards.
Here are the main takeaways, as reported by the Daily Signal.
1. Garland Denied Knowing about the Loudoun County Rape Case
In their letter, the National School Boards Association cited the arrest of a Loudoun County man as evidence of “threats” made against school board members. However, they failed to mention that the individual is the father of a girl allegedly raped in her school bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt.
“I didn’t know anything about this case,” Garland said, adding “this sounds like a state case, and I’m not familiar with it.”
Even though it is a state case, it has received national and global attention, so it’s hard to believe that a high-ranking government official is unfamiliar with the matter.
2. Garland Suggests He Didn’t Conduct Research
In his October memorandum, Garland cited a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff.” However, Thursday’s hearing shows that he simply took the word of the National School Boards Association.
“I read the letter,” Garland responded, “and we have been seeing over time….”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Jordan fired back. “So, you read the letter? That is your source? Is there some study, some effort, some investigation someone did that said there has been an uptick, or you just take the words of the National School Boards Association?”
“The National School Boards Association, which represents thousands of school boards and school board members, says there are these kinds of threats,” Garland said, adding, “we read in the newspapers reports of threats of violence.”
3. Garland Denies Having Stakes in the Game
During the hearing, Rep. Mike Johnson called for an investigation into Garland’s actions, suggesting he was motivated by his “family’s financial stake in this issue. He was referring to reports that Garland’s memo presented a conflict of interest due to his son-in-law’s education company that conducts race-focused surveys and trainings described as “social-emotional learning.”
“Published reports show that your son-in-law co-founded a company called Panorama Education,” Johnson said. “We now know that the company publishes and sells critical race theory and so-called anti-racism materials to schools across the country, and it works with school districts nationwide to obtain and analyze data on students, often without parental consent.” He then asked Garland if he was familiar with Title V of the Code of Federal Regulations addressing rules of impartiality for executive branch officials and employees.
“I am very familiar with it,” Garland replied. “I want to be clear once again that there’s nothing in this memorandum which has any effect on the kinds of curriculums that are taught or the ability of parents to complain.”
“There is no company in America or hopefully no law-abiding citizen in America who believes that threats of violence should not be prevented,” he continued. “There are no conflicts of interest that anyone could have.”