Kendall Tietz on October 21, 2021
Attorney General Merrick Garland testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, where Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson grilled him on an alleged conflict of interest regarding his son-in-law’s education company.
Johnson said Garland was using the authority of the Justice Department “to advance far left policies and attack Republican-led state actions and erode constitutional norms.”
He brought up Garland’s memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” against parents who threaten or use violence against public school officials, citing a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
Johnson said it was concerning that the memorandum was issued five days after the National School Board Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration which referred to parents “heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
“Given the timing of all this, your memo appears to have been motivated by politics more than any pressing federal law enforcement need,” Johnson said. He called for an investigation to see if his “actions may have been motivated by your family’s financial stake in this issue.”
“Published reports show that your son-in-law co-founded a company called Panorama Education,” Johnson said. “We now know that company publishes and sells Critical Race Theory and so-called antiracism materials to schools across the country and it works with school districts nationwide to obtain and analyze data on students often without parental consent.”
Panorama Education reaches 12 million K-12 students in 21,000 schools, according to its website. The company conducts student screening surveys that ask questions such as, “How confident are you that students at your school can have honest conversations with each other about race?” and “How often do you think about what someone of a different race, ethnicity, or culture experiences?”
CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
Johnson asked Garland if he was “familiar with Title V of the Code of Federal Regulations, which addresses the rules of impartiality for executive branch employees and officials.”
“I am very familiar with it. 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,” Garland responded. Johnson interjected that what parents are objecting to, “is the curricula, the very curricula that your son-in-law is selling.”
Federal regulation “says an employee of the executive branch is discouraged from engaging in conduct that’s likely to affect the financial interest of someone close to them,” Johnson added. He said his son-in-law and daughter meet that definition.
Johnson asked if the appropriate agency ethics official looked at his family’s education involvement, to which Garland responded that the memorandum was aimed at addressing violence and threats of violence.
House Republicans wrote a letter to Garland calling for an ethics investigation into allegations that he has “a financial stake in local school boards adopting a far-left educational curriculum” over reports that his “son-in-law is the co-founder of Panorama Education, Inc., a company that publishes and sells Critical Race Theory and ‘anti-racism’ materials and works with school districts nationwide to obtain and analyze data on students.”
“There is no company in America or hopefully no law-abiding citizen in America who believes that threats of violence should not be prevented,” Garland responded. “There are no conflicts of interest that anyone could have.”
Johnson said the U.S. needs “objective third parties to review our activities” and said Garland didn’t get to make the decision himself. He also said the impartiality of his Justice Department was in question in the minds of “millions of Americans.”
“This is why people are losing faith in our institutions, losing faith in this Department of Justice,” Johnson added.
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