EXCLUSIVE: America First Legal filed an appeal Tuesday after the Department of Justice denied expedited processing of their Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the department’s October memo promising to combat “threats of violence” against school boards and teachers.
DOJ had argued the issue was “not a matter of widespread media interest.”
But lawyers for America First Legal believe the denial of their request could be a politically motivated stall tactic, noting that they have had no issues getting expedited requests with other agencies in the federal government.
“On one hand, the Department of Justice believes vast national security powers must be arrayed against parents who object to critical race theory — triggering a massive national scandal,” America First Legal president and former senior adviser to former President Trump, Stephen Miller, told Fox News on Monday.
“On the other hand, when confronted with AFL’s crucial oversight request, the department now pretends this issue is not a matter of ‘widespread media interest.’ The only consistency here is that DOJ is grossly abusing its authority to promote CRT and punish American parents.”
This Oct. 30, 2020 file photo shows then-President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
The battle comes over an Oct. 4 memo released by the DOJ that promised to combat what it called an “increase” in “threats of violence” against school officials.
But critics of the memo say DOJ is targeting parents voicing their concerns about school policies at meetings, which recently have turned into heated debates over mandatory masking, gender policies and critical race theory in curricula.
America First Legal submitted the request hoping to uncover information revealing the motivations for the new DOJ effort, including if potential allies of the administration, such as the National School Boards Association, may have swayed the department’s decision-making.
Lawyers for America First Legal also told Fox News that they were looking for the DOJ to cite statistics to back up the claim that there has been a rise in criminal activity and threats, arguing that including such statistics should be standard with such a memo.
The Department of Justice could not immediately be reached for comment.