Q&A – The DOJ Is Targeting Parents Contesting School Boards

Anti-Vaccination Demonstrators Protest During The San Diego Unified Board Of Education's Meeting Vote On Vax Mandates

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Today’s entry: Brian, the news of the DOJ targeting parents at school boards meetings feels like Tea Party targeting 2.0. Rather than having the IRS targeting conservative groups, it’s now the IRS going after concerned parents. I remember a couple of officials getting ousted but was there ever any justice for those targeted? If they got away with it with the IRS, they’d be emboldened to do it again with law enforcement. Keep fighting for our kids!

Bottom Line: You've raised a good point regarding the IRS’s targeting of conservative non-profits a decade ago and the potential similarities to what the Department of Justice is attempting to do in real-time. Though there are key differences. First a little back story regarding the IRS targeting scandal and the outcome of it all.

In 2013, a class-action lawsuit was filed by 428 claimants alleging they’d been targeted by the IRS. The allegations included being denied tax-exempt status for organizations, despite meeting the legal thresholds, others being intentionally stalled when seeking status, and onerous scrutiny for those which were granted status including the use of targeted audits used as a form of intimidation.

The allegations pointed to abusive IRS practices starting in 2010 with the rise of the Tea Party movement. During the course of discovery, it was found that the IRS did intentionally target organizations with the words “Tea Party”, “Patriots”, “9/12 Project” and “Israel” in their names. An inspector general confirmed that the claimants were subjected to all of the offenses alleged in the suit. 

As this was revealed, Lois Lerner issued an apology and attempted to sweep the issues under the rug saying the targeting would no longer occur. Eventually, she was pressured into resigning, with a full pension, as the Obama administration opted not to fire her or pursue charges against her. In 2017 a settlement was reached in which the IRS admitted wrongdoing, issued an apology, and was made to acknowledge that it would not use its resources to apply tax laws based on an entity’s name, position, or association. 

The DOJ has chosen to issue this directive in the light of day. AG Garland’s directive specifically asks the FBI to address (the) increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools. So yeah, never mind over 1.5 million illegal immigrants being granted access by the Biden administration, no, the problem in this country is concern parents. Never mind having the FBI available to address the concerns of communities across the country suffering under crime rates which have spiraled higher, often related to trafficking across our open border. I think your example tying the IRS targeting scandal to this absurd DOJ directive is instructive in this regard. It illustrates what’s really going on here. Placating political allies by attempting to intimidate parents from going to school board meetings thinking they’ll be investigated if they do. 

If you’re a concerned parent who’s active at a school board meeting and you haven’t done anything wrong, there’s nothing for the FBI to investigate. You’re clearly not a domestic terrorist. So don’t be intimidated. That’s the key here. We need to ensure this effort to intimidate concerned parents and citizens generally isn’t successful. The best response would be for this to backfire on the administration with even more concerned parents and citizens showing up to all school board meetings than ever before. If you don’t give the FBI anything to investigate there isn’t anything to investigate. And if enough of us get and stay engaged we can work to influence better decisions in our schools today and replace the school board members who don’t represent our interests in elections tomorrow. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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