America First Legal Fast Track FOIA Request on DOJ Targeting School Board ‘Violence’ Denied

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The Justice Department rejected a request from America First Legal to expedite the processing of an information request under the Freedom of Information Act requesting information from the Department of Justice on its memo d October which launched an effort to combat an “increase” in “threats of violence” against school officials.

“On the one hand, the Justice Department believes broad national security powers must be deployed against parents who oppose the critical race theory – sparking a huge national scandal,” the president told Fox. of America First Legal and former senior adviser to former President Donald Trump Stephen Miller. New.

“On the other hand, faced with the AFL’s critical oversight demand, the ministry now claims that this issue is not a matter of“ widespread media interest. ”The only consistency here is that the DOJ is grossly abusing of his authority to promote the CRT and punish American parents. “

The problem is a memo released Oct. 4 by the Justice Department, according to which the department is fighting what it claims is an increase in “threats of violence” against school officials and teachers across the country. .

In this October 30, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump's White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller follows President Donald Trump to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.  Alabama U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, teasing the announcement of a possible U.S. Senate candidacy, has scheduled a campaign rally on Monday, March 22, 2021, where he will be joined by Miller.  (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, File)
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In this October 30, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump’s White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller follows President Donald Trump to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Alabama U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, teasing the announcement of a possible U.S. Senate candidacy, has scheduled a campaign rally on Monday, March 22, 2021, where he will be joined by Miller. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, File)

THE DOJ LAUNCHES AN EFFORT TO FIGHT THREATS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST SCHOOL LEADERS

“Threats against public officials are not only illegal, they go against the fundamental values ​​of our country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. says of the effort in a statement earlier this month. “Those who devote their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive an appropriate education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their jobs without fear for their safety. “

The memo announced the formation of a task force to combat the problem, while calling on the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s offices to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies work together to push back what he called it a “worrying trend”.

But the memo drew a strong backlash from some critics, many of whom argued that the Justice Department was targeting parents who were simply voicing concerns to their local school boards about issues such as masks, the policy of gender and the inclusion of critical race theory in the curriculum.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announces legal action to block the application of a new Texas law that bans most abortions, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Thursday, September 9, 2021. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Attorney General Merrick Garland announces a lawsuit to block the application of a new Texas law that bans most abortions, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Thursday, September 9, 2021 (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The controversy prompted America First Legal to submit a fast-track request for information from the DOJ, hoping to uncover the department’s motivation for the effort and whether it had coordinated with potential political allies from the DOJ. administration, such as the National School Boards Association.

But that request was turned down by the DOJ and other divisions within the department, including the Criminal Division, the United States Executive Office of Lawyers, and the Office of the Legal Counsel. Among the reasons given for denying the expedited request, the DOJ argued that the issue is “not a topic of widespread media interest.”

Attorneys for American First Legal told Fox News the decision to deny the claim was concerning, raising concerns that the move was politically motivated.

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FILE PHOTO: Angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County school board meeting was interrupted by the school board because crowds refused to calm down, in Ashburn, Va., On June 22, 2021 (Reuters / Evelyn Hockstein / File Photo / File Photo)

FILE PHOTO: Angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County school board meeting was interrupted by the school board because crowds refused to calm down, in Ashburn, Va., On June 22, 2021 (Reuters / Evelyn Hockstein / File Photo / File Photo)
(REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein / File photo)

Lawyers raised a number of concerns over the Oct. 4 memo, arguing that the Justice Department had not defined exactly what constituted “harassment or intimidation”. They also pointed to the lack of quotes from the DOJ to substantiate the claim that there has been an increase in crime and harassment against school officials, an omission they called “unusual” and should be current for the department when posting such a memo.

America First Legal is now considering appealing the decision, noting that failure to expedite the application could lead to months of delays that would prevent the public from accessing critical information and “cripple debate on the matter.”

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