Rep Jim Jordan said the FBI’s decision not to sufficiently comply with the committee’s subpoenas was ‘unacceptable’
By Lawrence Richard
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday alleging that the FBI has failed to comply with congressional subpoenas and warning to take action if they do not follow through by next week.
The letter specifically cited two subpoenas sent by the committee, one that was “Regarding School Board-related Threats” and its subpoena on “Catholic Domain Perspective.”
In the letter, Jordan called the FBI’s actions “unacceptable” and set a new date and time — noon on July 25, 2023 — for the requested materials. If the FBI does not deliver, the committee “will take action” such as holding Wray in contempt of Congress, he said.
“To date, the FBI’s compliance with these subpoenas has been wholly inadequate and has materially impeded the Committee’s oversight efforts,” Jordan said in the letter, dated July 17. “After several accommodations, months of persistent outreach by the Committee, and attempts to negotiate and work with the FBI in good faith, we write to notify you that if the FBI does not improve its compliance substantially, the Committee will take action—such as the initiation of contempt of Congress proceedings—to obtain compliance with these subpoenas.”
The first subpoena mentioned in the letter concerns FBI surveillance of parents at school board meetings in Virginia who expressed outrage over changes to schools’ curriculums, the promotion of race-based education and the district allegedly covering up sexual misconduct.
“The Committee on the Judiciary is continuing its oversight of the programs and operations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of particular interest to the Committee is the FBI’s weaponization of its law-enforcement powers against Americans who exercise their First Amendment rights. On February 3, 2023, the Committee issued a subpoena to you for documents and information regarding the FBI’s targeting of concerned parents who speak out at school board meetings,” Jordan said to Wray.
The Republican chairman said the FBI failed to volunteer information, so the committee issued an initial subpoena on Feb 3 for documents relating to investigative efforts into parents.
By the March 1 deadline, the FBI handed over a mere four documents.
The committee then instructed the bureau to hand over the documents on a rolling basis, and it turned over eight documents by March 8. An additional 364 documents were made available via camera.
“Following the limited production on March 8, Committee staff participated in phone calls with the FBI’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) on March 13 and March 16, about the FBI’s compliance with the Committee’s oversight,” Chairman Jordan said in Monday’s letter. “On those calls, Committee staff reiterated that the FBI was not in compliance with the subpoena and queried OGC as to when the Committee, consistent with its accommodation in accepting a rolling production, could expect the next tranche of documents responsive to the subpoena. No specific dates for the next production could be provided by OGC.”
The second subpoena concerns an eight-page memo leaked by former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin, which said the FBI and the Department of Justice were specifically investigating the actions of “radical traditionalist” Catholics and alleged connections to “the far-right white nationalist movement.”
The House Judiciary Committee formally requested documents from the FBI on Feb. 16 concerning the “FBI’s assessment of traditional Catholic Americans as domestic violent extremists based on their religious beliefs.”
However, those documents never arrived, Jordan said.
The committee requested the documents again during a hearing on March 9, and Assistant Attorney General Uriarte said under oath that the FBI would be “responding to this committee in the coming weeks” and information would be “forthcoming soon.”
On March 23, the FBI provided the committee’s members only 18 pages “many with significant redactions,” Jordan said.
On April 10, the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for the outstanding documents, and by the time an April 28 deadline came, the FBI had handed over 248 pages to the committee.
Jordan explained in Monday’s letter that this was insufficient.
“The FBI did not produce an unredacted version of the memorandum or any documents or communications concerning the process of drafting, reviewing, approving, or disseminating the memorandum — information that the subpoena compelled the FBI to produce,” he wrote.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.