(Daily Caller News Foundation) – The Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education (DOE) for failing to produce records regarding correspondence on the subjects of book bans, parental rights organization Moms for Liberty and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.
On July 3, the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona gave a speech to the National Education Association noting the “divisive drama” in education in recent weeks, according to a copy of his remarks. Several days prior, Moms for Liberty had hosted a summit with Republican presidential candidates, including DeSantis, who expressed concerns about “woke ideology” in schools.
The DCNF filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in August asking for correspondence between DOE Secretary Miguel Cardona, Rebecca Pringle, president of the National Education Association, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and Emily Drabinski, president of the American Library Association, according to the lawsuit. The department confirmed that it had received the DCNF’s requests but failed to provide any of the requested records.
“The Biden administration can’t be allowed to hide this information from the American people,” Michael Bastasch, editor-in-chief of the DCNF, said in a statement. “Citizens have a right to know if their government is plotting against moms or working behind the scenes to keep pornographic books in schools.”
The DCNF submitted a request on Aug. 8 for any email correspondence between Cardona and Pringle about book banning, Moms for Liberty and DeSantis from June 1 to July 15, according to the lawsuit. The department confirmed the request the same day but has provided no response since.
The DCNF filed a second FOIA request for correspondence between Cardona and Weingarten during the same period, but the DOE has also failed to provide records. Finally, the DCNF sent a third request for any communication records between Cardona and Emily Drabinski, president of the American Library Association, discussing Moms for Liberty.
On Aug. 17, the department asked for further clarification on the third FOIA request, asking if the DCNF also wanted records of communication between Cardona and Drabinski regarding DeSantis, and the DCNF informed the DOE it did not need those records. After confirming this on Aug. 29, the department has provided no further information regarding the status of the request.
Moms for Liberty co-founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich told the DCNF that “it is no secret that Secretary Cardona has no respect for us.”
“In fact, he has stated it multiple times,” they said. “Why does the federal government continue to try to silence the voices of parents and why not produce the records? What does Secretary Cardona have to hide?”
Several states, including Florida, have taken books off of the shelves in schools and public libraries due to their pornographic content that parents have argued is not appropriate for children. Cardona criticized states’ “book bans” in March, arguing that they “prevent students from learning about the history” of African Americans.
Tom Fitton, president of JW, said in a statement that the lawsuit is designed to show the Biden administration’s “effort[s]” to “smear and target parents.”
“This lawsuit aims to uncover the truth about the desperate new effort by the Biden administration and its leftist teachers’ union allies to smear and target parents who oppose sexually explicit and other extremist content being made available to schoolchildren,” Fitton said.
The DOE, Moms for Liberty and DeSantis did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.