EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Banks Demands Explanation Of NSBA Domestic Terrorism Letter

(Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks is demanding that the National School Boards Association (NSBA) explain why it believes that federal law enforcement officials should intervene in local public education disputes.

“You don’t cite a single instance of local law enforcement failing to arrest criminals who’ve broken the law,” Banks wrote to the group in a letter, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

Leading NSBA officials submitted a letter to President Joe Biden on Sept. 29 requesting federal involvement in local school board disputes over mask mandates and critical race theory that the group argued could be “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” The group asked for assessments from the Department of Homeland Security and other federal law enforcement agencies, as well as investigations under hate crime laws and the PATRIOT Act.

The NSBA letter cites local news reports of school board officials ending meetings due to participating citizens not wearing masks, as well as written threats and physical confrontations. Five days after NSBA submitted the letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to “convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders” to address potential threats to public education officials. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco denied a connection between the NSBA letter and Garland’s memo during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (RELATED: Republican AGs Join Forces To Warn Garland Against ‘Weaponizing’ FBI To Target Parents)

The NSBA “intentionally muddles the distinction between protected speech and unlawful violence,” according to Banks, while “conflat[ing] disagreement with violence in an attempt to convince federal law-enforcement to crack down on [their] political opponents.”

Read the letter here:

10.7.2021 National Schoolbo… by Michael Ginsberg

Multiple Republican senators have quizzed Justice Department officials about the NSBA letter and Garland’s memo during congressional hearings in recent days. Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton questioned Monaco about the definition of domestic extremism, while Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley compared Garland’s instructions to McCarthyism.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during her Wednesday briefing that Garland’s letter “was conveying” that “threats and violence against public servants is illegal.”

Banks requested that the NSBA provide a list of crimes directed at school board officials that were not prosecuted by local officials.

“The National School Boards Association letter is dangerous and anti-American,” Banks told the Daily Caller. “The NSBA makes clear its intent to put law-abiding American citizens with legitimate concerns over public education in the crosshairs of federal law enforcement. Not only is this unacceptable, it’s antithetical to the purpose of public education in this country and to America itself. That’s why I’ve written a letter to the NSBA demanding they produce evidence of actions directed at school boards that warrant the type of scrutiny from federal law enforcement they call for.”