WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued a subpoena Monday to Nina Jankowicz, former executive director of the now defunct Disinformation Governance Board.
In a letter to Jankowicz, Jordan noted, “We have repeatedly sought information from you concerning your official actions and duties as a DHS employee and former Executive Director of the Board, including how the Board intended to define disinformation, how it planned to collect information and from what sources, how it anticipated countering disinformation, and how it proposed to protect First Amendment rights.”
According to Jordan, the Judiciary Committee asked Jankowicz to sit for a transcribed interview on several occasions, beginning in May 2022. This year, the committee asked Jankowicz for an interview in letters dated January, February, and March. However, Jordan maintains, Jankowicz “declined to comply voluntarily” with the request.
Reacting to the letter, Jankowicz tweeted that she would “happily testify to the truth of the Board under oath,” adding, “That [the board] was a working group meant to address disinformation that endangered Americans’ safety, and that — because of the Republican Party’s irresponsible lies about it — our democracy is less secure.”
Also speaking to NBC via email, Jankowicz said that “the abuse of congressional oversight powers is about to get wildly out of control” under Jordan, adding, “His ‘weaponization’ committee is the entity that is actually weaponizing our government, and the American people deserve better.”
Jankowicz is scheduled to appear before the Committee on April 10.
Last April, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appointed Jankowicz the head of the newly formed Disinformation Governance Board. Jankowicz, a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, appeared on NPR shortly before DHS announced her appointment, noting, “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms what that would look like for the marginalized communities,” complaining that “marginalized” groups are “already shouldering … disproportionate amounts of this abuse.”
She has also dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as misinformation, telling the New York Daily News in October 2020 that “we should view it as a Trump campaign product.” She failed to recant her statement after the verification of the laptop’s contents by The Washington Post last March, and the following month restated her belief that the laptop was misinformation.
Critics of the Board voiced concerns that it could pose a threat to Constitutional rights such as the freedom of speech and religion, dubbing the Board the “Ministry of Truth” almost immediately, in reference to George Orwell’s 1984. As a result of the backlash, the DHS put a pause on the Board last May before dismantling it in July.
The NSBA subpoenas and the Garland memo
Jordan also issued subpoenas to former National School Boards Association (NSBA) officials over a September 2021 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that led to a memo instructing the FBI to investigate parents who voiced criticism of COVID policies and leftist curricula as domestic terrorists.
The subpoenas, issued to former NSBA interim executive director and CEO Chip Slaven and former NSBA president Viola Garcia, form part of an investigation into the FBI’s alleged misuse of “federal criminal and counterterrorism resources” to target parents at school board meetings, FOX News reported. Both Slaven and Garcia ignored a previous request to give voluntary testimony about the letter.
According to an internal NSBA investigation, the letter sent by the organization to the Biden administration was “principally directed, reviewed and approved by” Slaven, and that Slaven was responsible for the “origin and substance of the letter.” The investigation also concludes that the letter was neither widely reviewed or approved by members, or disclosed to all NSBA’s board of directors and members.
While the investigation concludes that Slaven and the White House could have collaborated on the letter, it “did not find direct or indirect evidence suggesting the Administration requested the letter.” Emails obtained by FOX News in 2021 showed that NSBA officials and the White House had worked for months in collaboration on the letter’s contents before it was finally sent.
After the letter from the NSBA, Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed the FBI to investigate parents protesting school board COVID policies and critical race theory in school curricula. According to whistleblowers, the FBI launched dozens of investigations into parents in the wake of Garland’s memo, including a father for appearing to be “insurrectionist” and a mother who belonged to a conservative group and owned guns.
While the NSBA apologized for sending the letter in October 2021, Garland refused to rescind the memo when asked in a Senate committee hearing shortly thereafter.
A lawsuit filed by parents against Garland over the memo was thrown out of court in September by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich. Explaining why the suit was thrown out, Friedrich wrote, “Because the plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged that they will suffer a reputational or other cognizable injury caused by the AG Policy, they lack standing to challenge the policy.”