Jim Jordan Threatens to Hold FBI Director in Contempt of Congress
Ohio Congressman and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan threatened to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress if the agency does not comply with two subpoenas connected to its alleged targeting of concerned parents and Catholics.
On July 17, 2023, Jordan penned a letter to the FBI director, showcasing the FBI’s “wholly inadequate” response to the subpoenas, which he believed impeded the committee’s oversight efforts.
“Of particular interest to the Committee is the FBI’s weaponization of its law-enforcement powers against Americans who exercise their First Amendment rights,” Jordan stated.
The first subpoena was issued on February 3. It called for documents and information connected to the “FBI’s targeting of concerned parents who speak out at school board meetings.”
The second subpoena was issued on April 10. It dealt with the “FBI’s profiling of traditional Catholics as domestic extremists.”
“To date, the FBI’s compliance with these subpoenas has been wholly inadequate and has materially impeded the Committee’s oversight efforts,” Jordan stated.
“After several accommodations, months of persistent outreach by the Committee, and attempts to negotiate and work with the FBI in good faith, we write to notify you that if the FBI does not improve its compliance substantially, the Committee will take action—such as the initiation of contempt of Congress proceedings—to obtain compliance with these subpoenas.”
The committee has already received several documents from the FBI, but believes that the agency has still not provided several vital documents.
“The FBI’s productions to date have not included material the Committee knows is, or has reason to believe may be, in the FBI’s possession and that is responsive to the subpoena,” Jordan added.
One specific record the committee wants to get its hands on is an email that might expose the connection between the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA’s) 2021 letter to President Joe Biden and the FBI’s concentration on alleged threats made by angry parents at school board meetings.
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” the NSBA declared in the 2021 letter to Biden. The letter asked for federal law enforcement support, as school board members faced parents expressing concerns about Wuhan virus masking and the use of critical race theory in the classroom.
Initially, the subpoenas were issued as a response to a memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, addressing an alleged uptick in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.
Per Jordan, the FBI did not “sufficiently comply on a voluntary basis,” when they only turned over four redacted pages of school board-connected documents submitted by the initial March 1 deadline.
Acting Assistant Director of Congressional Affairs Christopher Dunham signed a cover letter highlighting that the response featured information showing that the FBI was able to prepare within the time since receiving the subpoena on February 3, in the aftermath of the accommodation process.
Although the committee was willing to accept documents on a rolling basis, Republican leaders such as Jordan have viewed the FBI’s response as disappointing. Jordan claims that the way the FBI has handled the subpoenas goes against the agency’s alleged commitment to upholding First Amendment rights and accountability.
In a similar vein, the FBI’s refusal to provide names of employees involved in the process of memo drafting, reviewing, approving, or disseminating brought about concerns with respect to religious liberties protection, according to Jordan.
The FBI needs more pressure placed on it. It’s a nefarious institution that needs to be discredited and ultimately be abolished. One of the biggest mistakes the American Right has made in recent times is the treatment of the FBI as a harmless government agency.
This could not be further from the truth. At this moment in American history, we must stand strong against tyranny and not tolerate its further expansion.