Chris Lange, FISM News
Newly-released emails indicate that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona solicited the now-infamous letter penned by the National School Boards Association comparing parents who speak out at school board meetings to domestic terrorists.
In an Oct. 6 message sent to NSBA board member Marnie Maraldo, Secretary-Treasurer Kristi Swett said then-interim CEO Chip Slaven advised his fellow officers that “he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.” The email was obtained through a public records request by Parents Defending Education, as reported by Fox News.
The unearthed communication shows that Slaven circulated the controversial letter among NSBA’s board of directors on Sept. 29 and stated that he had been “in talks over the last several weeks with White House staff [and] they requested additional information on some of the specific threats, so the letter also details many of the incidents that have been occurring.” The letter was sent to President Biden the same day and formed the basis of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4 memo authorizing the FBI investigations into protesting parents.
“Should this allegation be true, it would reveal that this administration’s pretextual war on parents came from the highest levels,” PDE President Nicole Neily said following the release of the emails. “Attorney General Merrick Garland unequivocally stated that he based his memo on the NSBA’s letter – which in turn, mobilized the FBI and US Attorneys. If Secretary Cardona was truly involved in this ugly episode, it is a significant breach of public trust, and he should be held accountable,” she added.
A Department of Education spokesperson denied that Cardona solicited the letter, despite evidence to the contrary presented in the email communications.
“While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associations,” the spokesperson said.
Previously uncovered emails obtained through a separate Freedom of Information Act request indicate that the NSBA, in fact, engaged in discussions with the White House and the Justice Department in the weeks leading up to the final version of the letter being sent publicly. The communications raised serious questions about whether the Biden administration was directly involved in sanctioning federal probes of parents involved in school board meeting protests.
In their letter to the White House, Slaven and NSBA President Viola Garcia suggested that parents who showed up at school board meetings to protest things such as mask mandates and the imposition of critical race theory were engaging in “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and called on the administration to “examine appropriate enforceable actions” under legislation including the post-9/11 Patriot Act.
Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted under oath that his Oct. 4 memo was based solely on the NSBA letter. The association later apologized for the letter, but Garland has refused to redact the controversial memo.