WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, issued subpoenas Friday to the heads of the Justice Department, the FBI and the Education Department seeking documents related to the board meetings. local school.

The subpoenas, which Jordan said are the first he has sent as president to the Biden administration, require Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to turn over all documents on the subject. before March 1.

«Since October 2021, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have sent more than 100 letters to Biden Administration officials seeking answers about how the Administration used federal counterterrorism resources against American parents,» Jordan’s office said Friday. .

Jordan, who also chairs a new subcommittee on «Federal Government Weapons,» said whistleblowers have claimed that the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions «created a specific threat label for school board-related threats and even opened investigations into parents just by talking. on behalf of their children.» Republicans outlined those claims in a November report about the «politicization» of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

School board meetings across the country have escalated and turned violent in recent years, especially since the covid pandemic began. In October, a man was videotaped saying that LGBTQ people «deserve death» during a school board meeting in Arkansas where several anti-LGBTQ policies were passed. In January 2022, a Virginia woman was loaded after he appeared to threaten school board officials as they met to vote on whether to lift the mask requirement.

Garland formed a task force in October 2021 to address the growing threats, saying in a memorandum that there has been a «disturbing increase in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff involved in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.»

The subpoena sent to Garland requests documents and communications, for example, between employees of the Department of Justice and US intelligence agencies «that refer to or relate to alleged threats raised by concerned parents at local school board meetings.» «. She also asks him to provide records related to the creation of the DOJ task force to address violent threats against school officials and teachers.

Wray’s subpoena requests documents related to meetings held with US Attorney’s offices belonging to the task force, and also requests documents and communications related to the threat label.

Cardona was asked to provide documents related to a letter sent by the National Association of School Boards in September 2021 to President Joe Biden requesting assistance in keeping school board meetings safe.

“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent of a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the letter said.

An FBI spokesperson responded to Jordan’s subpoenas Friday afternoon, saying in a statement: «As Director Wray and other FBI officials have made clear on numerous occasions before Congress and elsewhere, the FBI has never been in the business of investigating speech or monitoring speech at school. board meetings or anywhere else, and we never will be.

«We are fully committed to preserving and protecting First Amendment rights, including the right to free speech. Attempts to promote any political narrative will not change those facts,» the spokesperson said, adding that the FBI «is actively working to respond to Congressional requests for information, including the voluntary production of documents.”

The Justice Department acknowledged receipt of the subpoena but had no further comment.

A Department of Education spokesperson said in a statement that the department «responded to Chairman Jordan’s letter earlier this week» before the subpoena was issued, and that it «remains committed to responding to requests from the Judiciary Committee on the Chamber in a manner consistent with the longstanding». policy of the executive branch.

Stacey Plaskett, a non-voting delegate to the US Virgin Islands House of Representatives who serves as the top Democrat on Jordan’s weapons panel, ripped Jordan and Republicans apart in a statement Friday in response to summons.

“The conspiracy theories behind today’s subpoenas have been debunked with facts time and time again, but Republicans don’t want to be bothered by this uncomfortable truth. There are not a number of documents that satisfy MAGA’s obsession with conspiracies,” he said. «While I am disappointed that the Republicans have resorted to this kind of aggressive and performative politics, I am confident that what they have asked for will once again refute this well-worn right-wing theory.»

michael kosnar Y zoe richards contributed.