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Pavlich: Democrats’ weaponization of the DOJ is back

Attorney General Merrick Garland gives an opening statement during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Justice on Thursday, October 21, 2021.
Greg Nash

In 2009, a national, grassroots movement known as the Tea Party emerged in cities across the country to combat then-President Obama’s radical spending agenda and government takeover of American health care. Bureaucrats at the IRS and Department of Justice quickly took notice and got to work to stop it. After all, with midterm elections right around the corner, Obama’s political agenda was at stake. 

“This was not an accident. This is a willful act of intimidation to discourage a point of view. What the government did to our little group in Wetumpka, Alabama is un-American,” Wetumpka Tea Party President Becky Gerritson testified at a June 2013 congressional hearing. “The demands for information in the questionnaire shocked me as someone who loves liberty and the First Amendment. I was asked to hand over my donor list including the amounts that they gave and the dates in which they gave them.”

“We knew we were being targeted because fellow Tea Party organizers across this nation were getting the same types of letters and questionnaires,” she continued.

While IRS officials in Washington, D.C., claimed the targeting was an isolated, rogue operation in an Ohio office, documents showed the IRS was asked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Elijiah Cummings (D-Md.) to “look into” the groups. 

Right on cue, IRS official Lois Lerner had a series of meetings with DOJ officials about how to criminally prosecute conservative groups with a goal of making them an example. Groups applying for tax-exempt status with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their titles were singled out for extra scrutiny.

“One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff,” Lerner said in a 2013 email. In another email, Lerner said the “Tea Party Matter [is] very dangerous.” 

It was obvious the IRS was attempting to quash political dissent. Lerner eventually admitted the targeting was wrong, retired and then the IRS “lost” thousands of her emails.

Fast-forward to 2016, and politically motivated FBI agents, who regularly exchanged text messages about their disdain for former President Trump, used a fake dossier commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign to go after Hillary Clinton’s presidential political opponent. 

While the FBI maintains the fake document wasn’t used to obtain FISA warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, bad information was. Years later and after significant damage, a  FISA judge berated the bureau and ruled two warrants were illegal. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith falsified information on FISA applications in order to get them approved. 

“This manufactured scandal and associated lies caused me to adopt the lifestyle of an international fugitive for years,” Page said during a court hearing about the illegal surveillance. “I often have felt as if I had been left with no life at all. Each member of my family was severely impacted.”

Now that Democrats are back in charge at DOJ, the political weaponization of the agency has returned and concerned parents are the target.

After President Biden received a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) requesting DOJ treat parents as domestic terrorists, with an assist from the Patriot Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland coincidently released an official memo warning the FBI would be monitoring school board meetings. During recent congressional testimony, Garland admitted the letter from NSBA, not an independent investigation or evidence of “threats,” was used for the DOJ memo.

After heavy criticism and outrage, with many school boards disavowing the letter, the NSBA backtracked and issued an apology.

“There was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance,” the NSBA wrote in a follow up letter. “The voices of parents should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education, health and safety.” 

As of this writing, Garland hasn’t withdrawn the DOJ memo issuing federal law enforcement scrutiny to local meetings. NSBA President Viola Garcia has been appointed by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to the National Assessment Governing Board, where she will give guidance on education policy. She is the author of the original letter calling for DOJ to go after parents. 

Given the left’s history of using powerful government agencies to target political opponents, Americans opposed to Biden’s agenda should understand Garland’s memo about parents was simply a test run. 


Pavlich is the editor for and a Fox News contributor.

Tags Barack Obama Democrats Donald Trump Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Hillary Clinton IRS targeting controversy Joe Biden Merrick Garland Miguel Cardona Sheldon Whitehouse

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