U,.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and several of his colleagues want to know why Attorney General Merrick Garland is siccing the FBI on parents.
The Oshkosh Republican joined Sen.Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) in a letter demanding answers regarding Garland’s recent memorandum on the Department of Justice’s intention to investigate parents concerned about COVID-19 protocols and curriculum changes in public schools. It’s not the job of the federal government to investigate parents who voice criticism against school policy, the senators write.
“While we agree with the sentiment that there is absolutely no environment in which it is acceptable that school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff would be subject to real threats of violence … We also believe parents have the right to voice their concerns, opinions, and frustrations to public servants,” the letter states.
“Parents often vehemently protect their children and have the absolute right to dissent when they believe their own children’s wellbeing is threatened. It is not the job of the federal government to institute a witch hunt against parents effectively penalizing them by investigating dissent,” the letter continues.
Beyond politically weaponizing the FBI, the attorney general’s use of federal recourses to investigate constitutionally protected speech is “as egregious as barring free speech,” Johnson and his colleagues write.
The senators have three questions for Garland, and they want them answered by Oct. 25.
- It is our understanding that solicitation to commit a crime of violence under federal law must involve a clear and imminent threat of violence that would be a violation of another federal law.What federal law or laws do you believe are being violated for which a parent’s speech could trigger an actual prosecution by your Department?
- In your Memorandum, you acknowledge that “spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution” Can you provide specific examples of speech that is not constitutionally protected that you have the authority to prosecute under federal law?
- What is your definition of harassment and intimidation, and is such actionable under federal law?
Read the letter here.