OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
A legal organization founded by one of Donald Trump’s top advisers has filed a request for information regarding a potential conflict of interest involving U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The request, filed by America First Legal, which was founded by Stephen Miller, follows reports that Garland’s son-in-law is the co-founder of a firm that promotes critical race theory in primary education classrooms and comes after the attorney general issued a memo Oct. 4 to the Justice Department directing its National Security Division and the FBI to probe “threatening” parents are school board meetings who have pushed back on CRT curriculum.
“Garland’s directive has been criticized for politicizing DOJ because it came just days after a controversial letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Biden, suggesting that parents pushing back during school board meetings are engaging in ‘domestic terrorism,’” Fox News reported, adding: “Now, Garland is also under increased scrutiny for his son-in-law’s ties to a company that backs CRT.”
The network notes further:
In 2018, Garland’s daughter Rebecca married Xan Tanner, co-founder of Panorama Education, a consultancy tied to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg’s charitable foundation – dubbed the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative – was listed in 2017 as one of several organizations that gave a collective $16 million to Panorama, which would use that for social-emotional efforts.
“Panorama Education will use the funding to expand its tools that help school districts develop students’ social and emotional skills, promote family engagement with school, and increase college readiness,” said a press release from the company.
In an interview with Fox News, Miller said the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is important because it’s vital to examine any potential “ethical conflicts” stemming from Garland’s personal family financial interests in the matter.
“AG Garland ordered the DOJ to use its vast national security powers to target parents who object to Critical Race Theory being forced onto innocent children. It is therefore exceptionally urgent that the Department disclose all records pertaining to the Garland family’s financial interest in Critical Race Theory and any and all ethical conflicts that arise from that financial interest,” said Miller.
“Accordingly, Mr. Tanner’s financial interest in a business that benefits from CRT and gender ideology indoctrination might render the Attorney General’s participation in measures to promote or protect such activities, including the October 4, 2021 memorandum, ethically problematic,” America First Legal noted in announcing its FOIA request.
A press release on the group’s website notes:
Mr. Tanner is currently the corporate secretary of Panorama Education Inc. Panorama promotes and profits from CRT and gender ideology indoctrination in schools across the country.
Publicly available corporate data shows billionaire oligarchs have invested as much as $100 million in Panorama. But Panorama’s website suggests a business model that depends on payments from credulous school boards using hard-working American parents’ local and federal taxes. Panorama and its billionaire investors, it seems, aim to profit by “transforming” America’s children through woke indoctrination, while sticking their parents with the bill.
“Merrick Garland has declared a war on parents,” Asra Nomani of Parents Defending Education (PDE) tweeted in response to Garland’s directive to the DoJ and FBI. “His daughter is married to the co-founder of @PanoramaEd which is under fire for its multimillion contracts with school boards. At @DefendingEd, parents sent us tips. We raised the alarm. Now Garland is trying to silence parents.”
Previously the Justice Department pushed back on the allegations that Garland could be compromised, saying “there has been misinformation circulated that the Attorney General’s directive is an effort to silence those with particular views about COVID-related policies, school curricula, or other topics of public discussion.”
“This is simply not true. As stated clearly in the Attorney General’s guidance to the FBI and United States Attorney’s Offices, the Department’s efforts are about rooting out criminal threats of violence, not about any particular ideology,” said DOJ spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle.