Lawsuit: Biden admin withheld records of work with Soros-linked groups on Title IX gender identity rule

Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a new lawsuit last week against the U.S. Education Department for failing to disclose communications it had with activist groups funded by left-wing megadonor…

Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a new lawsuit last week against the U.S. Education Department for failing to disclose communications it had with activist groups funded by left-wing megadonor George Soros.

The documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are in connection with the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX rule, which conflates sex with gender identity.

The rule could force schools to allow males identifying as girls to play on girls’ sports teams and use girl-designated facilities.

“The Biden Administration is on the verge of rewriting a major civil rights law, which will sacrifice the First Amendment and the sanctity of single-sex spaces on the altar of ‘sexual orientation and gender identity,’” said PDE President Nicole Neily in a statement.

“The public deserves transparency about the extent to which ideological activists like George Soros influenced Title IX over the objections of hundreds of thousands of Americans, which is why we decided to escalate this request,” she continued.

In June 2021, the Biden education department announced it was “confirming” that Title IX “protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

That “confirmation” was based on the department’s “interpretation” of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which it held that, in the context of employment discrimination, “on the basis of sex” refers also to sexual preference and gender identity. 

“An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII,” the Court held.  

The education department claimed that, in Bostock, “the Supreme Court recognized that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex.” 

However, a letter sent in March 2023 by four members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy urged the House to “hold hearings regarding the Biden Administration’s deformation of Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 (‘Title IX’).” 

The commissioners asserted the Biden administration’s “interpretation” of the Court’s ruling “is a misreading of both Title IX and Bostock.” 

“[T]he Supreme Court explicitly did not extend its interpretation of Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination to Title IX or to bathroom access,” the commissioners asserted. “The Office for Civil Rights has gone far beyond Bostock’s requirements.” 

Nevertheless, in April 2023, the education department rolled out its proposed Title IX rule that interprets “sex” to include “gender identity.” 

“The proposed rule would establish that policies violate Title IX when they categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity just because of who they are,” the department’s “fact sheet” noted. 

“Today’s proposed rule is designed to support Title IX’s protection for equal athletics opportunity,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona claimed. 

But the rule proposal came just days before Fox News reported a left-wing group “bankrolled” by left-wing billionaire George Soros had asked the administration in an “action memo” to revisit discrimination cases involving transgender students “in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock.” 

PDE’s FOIA requests thus sought correspondence between the education department and GFI, as well as two other Soros-linked groups, the National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) and the New Venture Fund (NVF). 

“The Biden Administration’s draft Title IX rewrite, which was publicly released and opened for notice and comment in June 2022, largely mirrored the GFI/NSLDN policy recommendations,” Neily posted to X on Feb. 28. 

PDE submitted its first FOIA request in July 2022, the suit alleges, but has received no response since then and no indication of when the department will provide a response. 

“By withholding these documents from the public, the Department is only reinforcing the appearance of impropriety,” PDE said in press release. “Refusing to release these documents leaves Americans in the dark about the Department’s coordination with ideological activist groups as it contemplates sweeping regulatory actions that will affect millions of children across the country.” 

“Parents,” PDE also said, should “have a better understanding of the parties who are pushing an agenda that could alter educational programs for generations to come.”