House Republicans announced Tuesday they are investigating potential misuse of coronavirus pandemic education funds and are requesting documents from the Department of Education regarding its guidance and use of the money.
The investigation will be led by House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).
The three Republicans believe some of the billions of dollars in emergency COVID-19 education funding was used to support “left-wing agendas” and not address COVID-related issues such as the learning loss during the pandemic.
The lawmakers sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Monday “calling for all documents, communications, and policies guiding the Department’s administration [of] COVID-19 education funds” to aid in their investigation.
“It is important for the American people and their elected lawmakers to understand how the Department administers funds intended to assist students during the pandemic and the extent to which any funds may have been misused by State Educational Agencies or Local Educational Agencies for unrelated purposes,” they said.
In their letter to Cardona, the GOP chairs gave potential examples of misuse including schools that used the funds for training teachers in topics such as “implicit bias,” “anti-bias strategies, environmental literacy…ethnic studies, and LGBTQ+ cultural competency.”
“These activities appear to have nothing to do with COVID-19 mitigation or learning loss and are a waste and misuse of taxpayer-funded COVID-19 relief programs,” they said.
The Hill has reached out to the Education Department for comment.
The letter states Cardona has until April 17 to produce the documents.
The request happened after the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic had a hearing titled “The Consequences of School Closures: Intended and Unintended,” where lawmakers debated who was to blame for the prolonged school closures.
This isn’t the first time Republicans have asserted pandemic education funds were mishandled. Comer and Foxx sent a letter to Cardona in October, when Republicans were in the minority in the House, requesting documents related to the funding.