AFL Demands Investigation Into Whether AG Garland Violated Ethics Rules By Not Disclosing Relationship With Son-in-Law’s Company

Friday, October 29, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, America First Legal filed a request for investigation with the Office of Government Ethics regarding Attorney General Merrick Garland’s compliance with conflict of interest regulations.

Attorney General Garland’s son-in-law is Alexander Tanner. Mr. Tanner is a corporate official of Panorama Education Inc.  Panorama’s website assures school boards it may purchase racial and gender indoctrination, data mining, and other services using parents’ tax dollars. Publicly available corporate data shows investors, including tech billionaire oligarchs, have invested over ninety million dollars in Panorama.  

Panorama’s business, its investors, and Mr. Tanner are likely to be adversely affected if parents protest and stop school boards from funding racial and gender indoctrination (i.e. “equity”) programs aimed at K-12 public school students. Federal ethics rules require the Attorney General, when faced with a matter likely to have a direct and predictable effect on Tanner’s financial interest, and under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question his impartiality in the matter, to recuse, absent notice to and approval from the designated agency ethics official.  

Given the Attorney General’s apparent failure to obtain preclearance from Justice Department ethics officials before issuing his infamous October 4, 2021 memorandum weaponizing law enforcement to chill the First Amendment rights parents protesting critical race theory and gender indoctrination, among other things, AFL believes the Office of Government Ethics should investigate and determine whether the Attorney General violated relevant federal ethics rules. 

Statement from America First Legal Vice President Gene Hamilton:  

Make no mistake: the Biden Administration was so committed to executing its pre-planned, coordinated effort to chill the free speech rights of parents across the country—something the left used to believe in but now actively abhors—that the Attorney General apparently did not address his potential conflict of interest before issuing the October 4th memorandum. The NSBA submitted its letter to President Biden on September 29th and the Attorney General’s memorandum issued on October 4th. Anyone even tacitly familiar with the mechanics of the federal government knows full well that such an expedited process is anathema to the typical vetting and approval procedures of executive agencies. The timeline is not coincidental. As a result of the extraordinary rush to get the pre-written memorandum issued so that they could achieve their desired effect—chilling the exercise of fundamental rights by parents across the country—the Biden Administration apparently failed to even give the Attorney General time to consider his potential personal conflict. This is an abject failure. The American people deserve answers. America First Legal is committed to bringing the truth to light,” Gene Hamilton said. 

Read the request for investigation here.

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