A conservative watchdog group is looking for information that it believes could lead to a conflict of interest in Attorney General Merrick Garland's Oct. 4 memo that directs the Department of Justice and FBI to investigate parents "threatening" school board meetings over critical race theory.
America First Legal filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Justice Department on Wednesday asking for records regarding the memo, Fox News reports. Garland has come under fire because his son-in-law, Alexander ''Xan'' Tanner, is the co-founder and president of Panorama Education, a Boston analytical software and services company.
Tanner is married to Garland's daughter Rebecca, and his company sells data mining products that include equity and inclusion surveys to schools.
Tanner's firm reportedly backs critical race theory, which holds that racism is endemic to the United States and its founding. Critical race theory, popularly known as CRT, is the very issue that has angered parents at school boards and over which Garland has advised the DOJ and FBI to investigate them.
His memo came after the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden saying board members across the country, as well as teachers and administrators, felt threatened by many of the parents.
Stephen Miller, founder of America First Legal and a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, told Fox News it is vital to look into any "ethical conflicts" arising from Garland's personal family financial interests.
"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," Miller said.
"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," he said.
America First Legal said in its announcement of the FOIA request: "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."
While the DOJ did not respond to Fox News' request for comment on America First Legal's FOIA, DOJ spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle had previously stated that "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," Hornbuckle said.
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