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FIRST ON FOX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sent U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland a letter Wednesday urging the Department of Justice to investigate a former school board president who appears to have kept a “dossier” of sensitive information on parents who opposed school board policies.
“I urge the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to immediately open an investigation into this matter,” Brnovich wrote in the letter, first provided to Fox News.
The attorney general noted that Jann-Michael Greenburg, who until recently served as president of the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) governing board, “had in his possession a dossier stored on a Google Drive that contained parents’ and students’ personal information, such as social security numbers, emails and other correspondence with the SUSD Board and perhaps school officials, automobile license plate numbers, photos and videos (Some secretly recorded) of parents and minor students, background checks, divorce proceedings, social media accounts, and parent addresses.”
Brnovich also noted that the SUSD board voted to remove Greenburg as president on Tuesday, and that the district opened an independent forensic investigation to determine if any district resources were used to create, maintain, or modify the dossier.
Scottsdale school board President Jann-Michael Greenburg (Scottsdale Unified School District) Parents protest at a Scottsdale school board meeting. Photo courtesy Amy Carney (Amy Carney) ((Scottsdale Unified School District/Amy Carney)
“Parents have a First Amendment right to assemble and speak in order to question the decisions public officials are making, especially when it involves the well-being of their children,” Brnovich wrote. “Furthermore, there is no place in America under fundamental concepts of liberty wherein parents should be surveilled, threatened, and intimidated for asserting their constitutional rights and raising concerns about their children’s education.”
“A dossier containing information on those who wish to participate in their children’s education and peacefully petition their government should concern all Americans of good conscience,” the attorney general added.
Brnovich argued that Greenburg may have violated 18 U.S. Code 242, which prohibits any person from depriving another person of their rights under color of law, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the confidentiality of student records, among other things.
Mark Brnovich on Fox News (Fox News)
“I’d call this retaliation,” Amy Carney, a mother of six and candidate for the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) governing board, told Fox News after news of the dossier broke. She said “the list of parents targeted in the drive appears to be anyone who has spoken out about anything against our district publicly or online.”
The Scottsdale Independent first reported on the “Greenburg Files,” an extensive opposition-research-style dossier of parents who spoke up at school board meetings on issues ranging from COVID-19 restrictions to critical race theory. Greenburg reportedly revealed the digital dossier – stored on Google Drive – in August, when he sent a screenshot of an image from the drive to resident Kim Stafford in an email.
Also on Wednesday, Brnovich sent a letter to the SUSD governing board, noting that the attorney general’s office “has statutory authority to investigate violations of Arizona’s public monies laws and open meeting laws and may seek penalties up to and including removal of board members from office.”
On Wednesday, House Republicans released an internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions, which instructed agents to apply the threat tag “EDUOFFICIALS” to all investigations and assessments of threats directed specifically at education officials. Republicans argued that the FBI was “tagging” parents who speak up at school board meetings.
Amy Carney speaks on behalf of parents during a protest against critical race theory being taught at Scottsdale Unified School District before a digital school board meeting at Coronado High School in Scottsdale on May 24, 2021.Protest At The Susd (Reuters)
The FBI told Fox News that “the FBI has never been in the business of investigating parents who speak out or policing speech at school board meetings, and we are not going to start now.”
The internal document came in the wake of memos showing that the National School Boards Association had collaborated with the White House and the DOJ before the NSBA sent the notorious letter comparing parents to domestic terrorists. While the NSBA withdrew the letter and apologized for it, the DOJ issued a memo shortly after the NSBA letter – a memo Garland has not rescinded.