Sen. Ben Sasse called a Justice Department memo about threats toward school boards “political hackery” on Wednesday and said Attorney General Merrick Garland politicized the DOJ.
Earlier this month, the department issued a memo directing the FBI to watch out for threats of violence against school boards and education officials. Critics of the memo called it an effort to silence parents protesting school board meetings over issues such as mask mandates or curricula.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sasse said it is “political hackery that brought that topic to your desk, not reality.”
“I’m strongly against all violence against everyone in public life and all threats of violence,” Sasse said. “You’ve not at any point here given us any data that shows us why this would in any way be a federal priority at this time.”
Garland said the purpose of the memo was “to assess the extent of the problem.”
“And if there is no problem, if states and local law enforcement are capable of handling it, then there is no need for our involvement,” Garland said. “It has nothing to do with politics.”
Sasse asked Garland if he would report back to the committee “how big a threat the American parent class is to school boards.”
“I’d be happy to get a report back to you, but this is not about the American parent,” Garland said.
“I know. It’s about the politicization of the DOJ,” Sasse said. Garland said he did not agree.
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Original Author: Kate Scanlon