Q&A – The DOJ’s Targeting Of Parents Contesting School Boards
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Today’s entry: Brian, the news of the DOJ targeting parents at school boards meetings feels like Tea Party targeting 2.0. Rather than having the IRS targeting conservative groups it’s now the IRS going after concerned parents. I remember a couple officials getting ousted but was there ever any justice for those targeted? As you often say it’s about the premise. If they got away with it with the IRS, they’d be emboldened to do it again with law enforcement. Keep fighting for our kids! We need your voice in South Florida!
Bottom Line: Thank you, but no worries about me, I’m not going anywhere, and I’m as fired up as ever. So, you've raised a good point regarding the IRS’s targeting of conservative non-profits a decade ago and the potential similarities to what the Department of Justice is attempting to do in real-time. Though there are key differences. First a little back story regarding the IRS targeting scandal and the outcome of it all.
In 2013 a class action lawsuit filed by 428 claimants alleging they’d been targeted by the IRS. The allegations included being denied tax-exempt status for organizations, despite meeting the legal thresholds, others being intentionally stalled when seeking status and onerous scrutiny for those which were granted status - including the use of targeted audits used as a form of intimidation. The allegations pointed to abusive IRS practices starting in 2010 with the rise of the Tea Party movement. During the course of discovery, it was found that the IRS did intentionally target organizations with words “Tea Party”, “Patriots”, “9/12 Project” and “Israel” in their names. An inspector general confirmed that the claimants were subjected to all of the offenses alleged in the suit. As this was revealed, Lois Lerner – the IRS Director of Exempt Organizations – issued an apology and attempted to sweep the issues under the rug saying the targeting would no longer occur. Eventually she was pressured into resigning, with a full pension, as the Obama administration opted not to fire her or pursue charges against her. As for how that story ended...
In 2017 a settlement was reached in which the IRS admitted wrongdoing, issued an apology and were made to acknowledge that it would not use its resources to apply tax laws based on an entity’s name, position or association. A final report found IRS officials involved in the scheme were two IRS Commissioners and Lois Learner. While those IRS officials were pressured to leave, no criminal charges were ever brought against them. From an accountability standpoint, and to the point of your concerns, it’s hard to suggest offenders being pushed into retirement with full pensions would act as a firm deterrent for others who might similarly abuse their government positions in other agencies. So, about the DOJ’s new initiative to target parents protesting school boards across the country. Is this a different version of a similar thing? There are big differences between the IRS targeting scandal and the DOJ’s parent targeting.
The DOJ has chosen to issue this directive in the light of day. AG Garland’s directive specifically asks the FBI to address (the) increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools. So yeah, never mind over 1.5 million illegal immigrants being granted access by the Biden administration, no, the problem in this country is concern parents. Never mind having the FBI available to address the concerns of communities across the country suffering under crime rates which have spiraled higher, often related to trafficking across our open border... no, go investigate some parents at school board meetings. I think your example tying the IRS targeting scandal to this absurd DOJ directive is instructive in this regard. It illustrates what’s really going on here. Placating political allies by attempting to intimidate parents from going to school board meetings thinking they’ll be investigated if they do.
If we’ve learned anything about who pulls the strings within the Biden administration thus far, it’s the teacher’s unions. We’ve seen the American Federation of Teachers successfully pressure the CDC into reversing their school mask guidance. Likewise, they were pledged support of the Biden administration in their effort to advance Critical Race Theory in schools. Quoting Randi Weingarten, the President of the AFT, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has our back. So, about that. A November 17th, 2020 story entitled Teachers unions will have newfound influence in a Biden administration. Here’s how they might use it – included a laundry list of ways the teachers unions intended to use their power within the Biden administration. It also included this statement from Jill Biden: Joe and I will never forget what you did for us. That statement was directed specifically at the AFT and NEA. They sure haven’t. What happened here is just the latest fulfillment of the teachers’ union’s wishes.
On September 30th the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the Biden administration specifically asking, that the federal government: investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against public school officials through existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces, and other extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of our children and educators, to protect interstate commerce, and to preserve public school infrastructure and campuses. The language is so close to the directive from Garland that he’s liable to have just copied and pasted their verbiage directly into his directive. So first and foremost, what this is, is the latest Biden administration initiative to bow before the unions - which are in league with the National School Boards Association. Secondarily, the effort is to publicly intimidate parents from attending school board meetings so they can get back to what they’d customarily been doing to incrementally turn our public schools into Marxist training grounds. This isn’t complicated.
If you’re a concerned parent who’s active at a school board meeting and you haven’t done anything wrong, there’s nothing for the FBI to investigate. You’re clearly not a domestic terrorist. So don’t be intimidated. That’s the key here. We need to ensure this effort to intimidate concerned parents and citizens generally isn’t successful. The best response would be for this to backfire on the administration with even more concerned parents and citizens showing up to all school board meetings than ever before. If you don’t give the FBI anything to investigate there isn’t anything to investigate. And if enough of us get and stay engaged we can work to influence better decisions in our schools today and replace the school board members who don’t represent our interests in elections tomorrow.