Cruz spars with Garland over son-in-law’s education company

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Cruz spars with Garland over son-in-law’s education company

Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland for refusing to answer his questions during a Senate hearing Wednesday — as Cruz pressed on Garland’s son-in-law’s education company and its potential influence over his recent memo involving the FBI in disputes between parents and school boards. 

Garland was grilled by Cruz over a controversial memo released earlier this month that announced federal law enforcement’s involvement in investigations of “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” 

Cruz, along with several other Republican lawmakers during the hearing, accused Garland of targeting parents for speaking out against the implementation of mask mandates and critical race theory in K-12 schools. 

The Texas Senator went a step further, questioning the attorney general on his son-in-law’s education company, Panorama Education. 

Cruz asked Garland whether he sought an ethics opinion given his son-in-law’s company and claims that the company supports issuing critical race theory curricula.

Sen. Ted Cruz questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland on his son-in-law's educational company at a Senate hearing on October 27, 2021.
Sen. Ted Cruz questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland on his son-in-law’s educational company at a Senate hearing on October 27, 2021.
Reuters

Garland pushed back, telling the Texas Republican that the memo had nothing to do with critical race theory. 

“Are you refusing to answer if you found an ethics telling you –” Cruz said.

“There’s no possible — ” Garland attempted to respond. 

“So you’re saying no, just answer it directly. You know how to answer a question directly. Did you seek an ethics opinion?

“I’m telling you that if I thought there was any reasonable — if there was a conflict of interest, I would do that,” Garland said. 

Cruz and Garland continued to go back and forth, with the Texas senator repeating the question and urging Garland to answer. 

Garland claimed that he would've sought an ethics opinion if there was any possible conflict of interest with his son-in-law's company.
Garland claimed that he would’ve sought an ethics opinion if there was any possible conflict of interest with his son-in-law’s company.
Reuters

As Cruz’s time for questioning expired, he said “Let the record reflect the Attorney General refuses to answer whether he sought, sought an ethics opinion and apparently ethics are not a terribly high priority of the — by the Justice Department.” 

Panorama Education has denied any affiliation with CRT, saying on their website, “Panorama Education is not affiliated with any particular academic or legal philosophy, including critical race theory (CRT). Panorama is not connected to CRT and it is not a tool for teaching CRT.”

“Panorama Education does not sell critical race theory (CRT) to schools. Panorama is not connected to critical race theory (CRT) and is not a tool for teaching critical race theory (CRT),” the company continued.

During his line of questioning, Cruz also blasted Garland for not having done independent research on any instances of alleged violence before issuing the hotly debated memo. 

“You’re the Attorney General of the United States. This was not a tweet you sent. This is a memo to the Federal Bureau of Investigations saying go investigate parents as domestic terrorists,” Cruz said. 

Cruz criticized Garland for not doing the proper research before issuing his controversial memo asking the FBI to investigate school board meetings.
Cruz criticized Garland for not doing the proper research before issuing his controversial memo asking the FBI to investigate school board meetings.
Photo by TASOS KATOPODIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Cruz cited a letter from the National School Boards Association, that was sent just days before Garland’s memo and requested assistance from the federal government to combat the alleged violent acts they compared to “domestic terrorism,” — the NSBA board has since apologized for the language in the letter. 

The senator noted that in the letter, the NSBA cited 20 incidents of violent acts against school personnel. 

“Did you look up the 20 instances?” Cruz asked.

“I did not –” Garland said before Cruz cut back in saying, “Did anyone on your staff look them up?”

Garland admitted that he didn't look up the 20 instances of violence cited in the National School Boards Association letter.
Garland admitted that he didn’t look up the 20 instances of violence cited in the National School Boards Association letter.
Photo by Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images

“I don’t know the answer but it’s up –” Garland started to say. 

“But of course you don’t, General,” Cruz said. 

The Texas senator went on to accuse Garland of failing to do any independent research before issuing the memo and asked the attorney general several times if he did. 

Garland failed to provide Cruz with a direct answer on the subject.

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