Sen. Charles E. Grassley on Wednesday accused Attorney General Merrick B. Garland of politicizing the Department of Justice.
“The department has moved as far left as it can go,” Mr. Grassley said. “You’ve politicized the department in ways that shouldn’t be.”
The Iowa Republican’s comments came during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the department.
“Either you run the Department [of] Justice, or the department runs you,” Mr. Grassley said. “Right now, it looks like the Department of Justice is running you.”
He pointed to the attorney general’s school board memo as a “case in point” example of politicization.
Mr. Garland’s Oct. 4 memo directs federal officials to meet with law enforcement to discuss strategies for responding to the growing number of threats against school board members and other education staff.
The call to action came days after the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Biden asking for federal law enforcement to investigate and prevent the threats and attacks.
The association asked the federal government to “examine appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence” under the Patriot Act in regard to domestic terrorism and other federal laws.
The association walked back the letter Friday, saying, “There was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
Mr. Grassley said: “The school board association has since apologized for that letter, but not before the department relied on their letter to mobilize federal law enforcement in state and local matters. Meanwhile, actual violent crime is on the rise in the country.”