Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Grassley blasts feds looking into threats against school board members

Grassley blasts feds looking into threats against school board members

  • Updated
  • 0

The Iowa State Capitol building Friday, July 31, 2020, in Des Moines.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland last week for creating a federal law enforcement task force in response to threats faced by school board members.

“It seems a far reach,” Grassley told reporters when asked about Garland’s memo outlining measures to address what the attorney general called “the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

Garland created a task force, including the FBI and the Department of Justice’s criminal and national security divisions, to work with local officials to address “threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

“The last thing the Justice Department and FBI need is a vague memo to unleash their power — especially when they've shown zero interest in holding their own accountable,” Grassley said.

He also used the committee hearing to raise his concerns about Justice’s handling of the Hunter Biden investigation, reversing the firing of former FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other controversies, such as the FBI failure to investigate complaints that Olympics gymnastics coach Larry Nassar sexually assaulted athletes.

When there are threats to school board members, Grassley said, they can be handled by state and local law enforcement officials who “probably have been handling it for decades.”

Garland’s memo, Grassley said, “has been interpreted by parents as intimidating free speech.”

The memo was issued after the National School Boards Association wrote President Joe Biden a letter in which it likened protesting parents to domestic terrorists.

“Parents deserve a very big say in their children's education, and they ought to be listened to,” Grassley said.

Since the memo was issued, the school board association has withdrawn its letter. However, Grassley said Garland has not withdrawn his memo.


The Iowa Association of School Boards issued a statement saying it was not consulted before the national organization wrote to Biden. It “respectfully disagrees” with the letter.

“Iowa school boards value and care deeply about parent views on issues affecting children,” the IASB wrote.

“School boards are providing forums for public opinion, including civil dissent, as part of full and fair deliberation on public issues,” the statement read. “Iowans are largely highly civil, even in heated discussions of controversial issues.”

Local law enforcement has been effective in addressing any isolated criminal threats or incidents, the IASB added.

Grassley also criticized Garland for having “politicized the department in ways it shouldn't be.”


Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News