Lawmakers Pound AG Garland Over Alleged DOJ Targeting of Pro-Lifers
As U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland received pointed questions from Republican senators during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, concerns are growing about President Biden’s Justice Department becoming politicized through the targeting of pro-life individuals and organizations.
The latest allegations surfaced Wednesday, when it was reported that the FBI may have sent an informant to infiltrate a meeting of the pro-life group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) in January. Records show that a recording of the meeting was later used in federal court to prosecute PAAU Director of Activism Lauren Handy.
On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Garland requesting all of the FBI’s correspondence related to the alleged operation, along with requests for the bureau to explain its rational for using taxpayer resources “to spy on pro-life meetings” and whether the bureau views pro-life Americans as “domestic terrorists.”
“Ultimately, these allegations are deeply concerning,” Cruz told Fox News. “The American people deserve to know if their tax dollars and federal law enforcement agencies are being used to spy on pro-life Americans.”
Roy also voiced strong concerns about the politicization of the Justice Department during Wednesday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”
“We’re getting pretty troubled when we see the power of the federal government being used and being weaponized against the American people,” he said. “And frankly, that’s true. Regardless of what I think in terms of ideology. These happen to be pro-lifers. And there’s a history, an obvious history, and certainly a great deal of evidence that this administration has no problem using the power of government to target the pro-life community.”
Roy went on to mention the example of Mark Houck, a Catholic and pro-life father of seven, who was arrested by a large cadre of armored and heavily armed FBI agents at his home last September in front of his wife and young children over a disputed incident involving a pro-abortion escort in front of an abortion facility where Houck was praying with his 12-year-old son at the time.
During Garland’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) grilled the attorney general about why the Justice Department took such drastic measures to arrest and prosecute Houck, despite the fact that the local prosecutor in Philadelphia — a Democrat — declined to prosecute Houck. In addition, a private suit against Houck got dismissed, he had previously offered to turn himself in, and the federal charges against Houck ended up being dismissed by the jury in one hour.
Garland declined to directly answer Hawley’s question about why Houck was targeted by the Justice Department.
On Thursday, another story broke about alleged bias within the FBI against pro-life individuals involving a whistleblower currently serving as an agent. FBI Special Agent Garret O’Boyle said that a “threat tag” was created inside the bureau that originally was intended to center around threats made against the Supreme Court justices following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of last year. However, O’Boyle claimed that the focus was later “shifted” to supposed threats from pro-life individuals.
Roy went on to paint a clear picture as to how Republicans can combat the concerns over politicization of government agencies like the FBI and DOJ.
“We need to stop funding tyranny,” he underscored. “Power the purse. Every Republican … campaigns on protecting life, on standing up in defense of people to exercise their religious liberties. They stand up against spending money in debt and deficits. They call for balanced budgets. They go out and they talk about the need to secure the border. They go down this list of things they say they want to do, but then they go, ‘Oh, sorry, the Senate doesn’t have 60 votes and Joe Biden is in the White House. Enough. We have the power of the purse. Stop funding government that is weaponized against the American people. Stop funding the things you campaign against. That is our calling in the Republican-led House of Representatives.”
“I think you’re absolutely right,” Perkins agreed. “That’s the only leverage that the Republicans have right now in the House.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.