Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has asked the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate Merrick Garland for potential conflicts of interest due to his son-in-law’s education company after the attorney general went after parents due to comments they made in school board meetings.
School board meetings and other normally tame parent-teacher forums have become a hotbed for ideological confrontations over Critical Race Theory (CRT) vaccines and mask mandates.
The National School Board Association (NSBA) compared such activism to ‘domestic terrorism.’
Garland on Oct. 4 directed the FBI to step up enforcement against threats to teachers and other education officials.
Xan Tanner, founder of Panorama, is married to the attorney general’s daughter, Rebecca Garland
But Garland’s daughter, Rebecca Garland, is married to Alexander ‘Xan’ Tanner, founder of Panorama Education. The group provides resources to teachers and students on equity and teaching on oppression and white supremacy.
Panorama is granted the status of ‘school officials’ under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, granting them access to student data, according to Lamborn.
‘This is a federal law that Attorney General Merrick Garland has to enforce,’ the Colorado Republican wrote. ‘My concerns are that Attorney General Garland’s family is profiting off Panorama Education’s curriculum and data mining, while he simultaneously works to halt parents from expressing concerns over these practices.’
Parents Defending Education (PDE), a parent group accusing Garland of conflicts of interest, posted screenshots of what they alleged were Panorama Education surveys.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., above, wrote a letter asking the Office of Inspector General to investigate Garland
Attorney General Merrick Garland’s daughter Rebecca (far left) is married to the co-founder of Zuckerberg-backed education group Panorama Education
One of the images appears to show a survey asking whether the respondent is ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, aromantic, asexual, or questioning.’
A second screenshot is a question simply asking the respondent’s gender, then adds the following options: Male, Female, Transgender Male, Transgender Female, Genderqueer or Genderfluid, Questioning, My identity is not listed, Prefer not to answer.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Panorama regarding whether those are legitimate screengrabs from their surveys for students.
Members of Parents Defending Education were quick to point our Garland’s connection to a group they claim promotes Critical Race Theory
Screenshots allegedly show Panorama Education-made survey questions that PDF claims ask 12-year-olds their sexual identity
A spokesperson for the company said Panorama is ‘not affiliated with any particular academic philosophy, including critical race theory.’
‘Our technology is used to help schools gather feedback from students, families, and educators. Panorama only uses student data for the purpose of helping schools and districts better serve their students,’ they told DailyMail.com.
Panorama describes its role as supporting ’13 million students in 23,000 schools and 1,500 districts across 50 states.’
Meanwhile, Panorama has raised $76 million from powerful investors since 2017.
PDF flagged one Panorama contract with Fairfax County Public Schools that’s worth $2.4 million, a figure that the district confirmed with DailyMail.com.
It’s part of a broader spending plan on how to spend $188.6 million in emergency relief funds.
Panorama isn’t mentioned in the plan, but one section allocates $78.8 million toward ensuring schools are ‘welcoming and culturally responsive to all students and families.’
It will be used to support ‘equity’ development for school teams and ‘social-emotional staff’ to work with schools.
Fairfax County Public Schools told DailyMail.com it does not teach CRT in its schools.
However, critics say guidelines using ‘equity’ and ‘culture’ are typically hallmarks of introducing Critical Race Theory, which teaches that racism is a social construct used to oppress people of color, and that it is present in almost all aspects of everyday life.
CRT has been a hot-button issue and a source of anger for parents who oppose its philosophy being taught in public schools.
PDE claims Garland is trying to silence the opposition and help his son-in-law maintain lucrative contracts promoting the theory.
Last week, anti-mask protesters disrupted a school board meeting in Lakewood, Ohio over the board’s face covering mandate, video of the incident on YouTube shows.
Garland’s FBI directive was spurred by the NSBA begging the Biden administration to intervene in the ‘immediate threat’ posed to education officials by anti-CRT and anti-mask protesters.
‘Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula,’ the letter reads.
PDE vice president of investigations and strategy Asra Nomani lashed out at NSBA’s letter.
‘This is what a domestic terrorist looks like? You are criminalizing parenting, and you owe the people of America a swift apology,’ she said in a video on Twitter.