Last week our friends at America First Legal (AFL), led by former Trump domestic policy advisor Stephen Miller, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against the Department of Education, asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop
the activities of the Biden Administration’s deceptive and illegal “National Parents and Families Engagement Council.”
Formed illegally, the Council is nothing more than an indoctrination and propaganda organ targeting America’s children. All fourteen of its member organizations have publicly aligned with the Biden Administration; eleven have executive directors who have donated to President Biden, Democratic lawmakers, Democratic fundraisers, or other Democrat associations or entities; seven have publicly aligned with the extreme Democrat “gender identity” agenda; and nine have publicly aligned with the extreme Democrat anti-Second Amendment agenda. Not one has ever publicly opposed the destructive masking of students, or spoken out against the Biden Administration’s claim that parents who protest at school board meetings are domestic terrorists, or opposed teaching young children divisive Critical Race Theory principles.
Statement from America First Legal President Stephen Miller:
“America First Legal is asking for an immediate injunction ordering the Department of Education to shut down Biden’s commission to indoctrinate our children. This illegal federal committee, stacked with radical woke activists, is clearly designed to propagandize our children in the classroom. We will not stand for it: which is why we are asking a federal court to enjoin the Commission and order its activities halted and ceased,” Stephen Miller said.
As America First’s case memorandum explained, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (“FACA”) was enacted in 1972 out “of a desire to assess the need for the ‘numerous committees, boards, commissions, councils, and similar groups which have been established to advise officers and agencies in the executive branch of the Federal Government.’” Pub. Citizen v. Dep’t of Justice, 491 U.S. 440, 445–46 (1989) (citing 5 U.S.C. app. 2 § 2(a)). “FACA’s terms promote transparency, accountability, and open public participation in executive branch decisions and prevent informal advisory committees from exerting improper one-sided influence.” VoteVets Action Fund v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, 992 F.3d 1097, 1101 (D.C. Cir. 2021).
Among other terms, FACA requires that advisory committees be announced in the Federal Register, provide a charter and notice of open meetings, and have a balanced membership free of improper influence. 5 U.S.C. app. 2 §§ 4–11. (Emphasis by CHQ)
“FACA was enacted to cure specific ills, above all the wasteful expenditure of public funds for worthless committee meetings and biased proposals.” Cummock v. Gore, 180 F.3d 282, 284 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (cleaned up). The Biden administration’s failure to follow FACA necessarily violates the public interest, and immediate relief is necessary to prevent ongoing deprivations of information and representative decision making.
Despite these long-established requirements, the Department of Education and Secretary Cardona disregarded them all in purporting to establish a new advisory committee, the National Parents and Families Engagement Council.
As the America First Legal memo explained, the Council is composed of 14 organizations selected by the Department. Id. The Department claims that these members “reflect the diversity of the education system.” Id. Members include: The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Case 1:22-cv-01947-RCL Document 3-1 Filed 07/14/22 Page 5 of 30 (“COPAA”); Fathers Incorporated; Generations United; Girls Inc.; League of United Latin American Citizens (“LULAC”); Mocha Moms; National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (“NAFSCE”); National Action Network (“NAN”); National Military Family Association (“NMFA”); National Parent Teacher Association (“PTA”); National Parents Union (“NPU”); The National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment (“PLACE”); United Parent Leaders Action Network (“UPLAN”); and UnidosUS. Id. The Department has not specified the individuals from each group who will participate in Council matters.
The Council members do not represent diverse views as required by FACA. Instead, they are largely politically aligned with the Administration. Of the 14 organizations, seven (50%) have publicly expressed support for actions taken by the Biden Administration, Mills Decl. Exs. 3–9; eleven (78.57%) organizations’ highest-ranking executive have donated to President Biden, Democratic lawmakers, Democratic fundraisers, or other associations or entities affiliated with Democrats, Mills Decl. Exs. 10–20; and at least seven (50%) are largely aligned with the Democratic Party on LGBTQ issues, Mills Decl. Ex. 30. Nine (64.29%) organizations have advocated for stricter gun control for school-safety purposes. Mills Decl. Exs. 21–29. None (0%) of the organizations’ heads donated to Republicans or conservative organizations in the last 14 years. See Mills Decl. Exs. 10–20.1 None of the organizations have publicly criticized the Biden Administration’s masking policy for students or the Biden Administration’s October 4, 2021, Memorandum that addressed alleged threats to school boards. See generally Mills Decl. Ex. 38. And none of the organizations has spoken against critical race theory curriculum in K-12 schools.
If there was ever an example of a “wasteful expenditure of public funds for worthless committee meetings and biased proposals” this is it. To learn more about America First Legal or to donate to support their important mission click this link.
America First Legal (AFL)
Joe Biden Administration
Department of Education
National Parents and Families Engagement Council
School Board Protests
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)