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Chairman Wenstrup Threatens Subpoena as Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten Obstructs COVID-19 School Closures Investigation

Washington, D.C. - Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) sent a final letter to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten requesting supplementary documents and communications related to her influence over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s school reopening guidance. Ms. Weingarten’s testimony before the Select Subcommittee in April revealed previously unknown information that raises additional questions about AFT’s role in prolonging school closures and potential political interference with the CDC. The Select Subcommittee has consistently attempted to work in good faith with AFT, but Ms. Weingarten and her team have refused to cooperate with Chairman Wenstrup’s legitimate oversight requests and are obstructing the Select Subcommittee’s investigation.

"As you stated in your April 19, 2023, letter and as the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Ms. Randi Weingarten, testified on April 26, 2023, the CDC consulted AFT leadership on the CDC’s February 2021 “Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention” (Operational Strategy).  For that reason, and as outlined below, the Select Subcommittee has worked in good faith with your clients to obtain information necessary to further our legitimate legislative inquiry. Despite our continued and repeated reasonable accommodations, AFT continues to frustrate the Select Subcommittee’s investigation. Unless an agreement can be reached soon, we will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process," wrote Chairman Wenstrup.

Mounting evidence continues to prove that the "science" never justified prolonged school closures. The Select Subcommittee is committed to thoroughly investigating the role AFT played in keeping America’s children out of schools — which has been detrimental to their mental and physical health as well as their academic and social well-being. AFT’s unwillingness to negotiate with the Select Subcommittee or comply with its requests is unjustified, concerning, and raises additional questions regarding AFT’s authority to edit the CDC’s school reopening guidance. Chairman Wenstrup will be forced to consider a subpoena if the documents and information in his request are not produced before May 30, 2023.

"During the May 10 phone call and in a May 10 email, you raised various objections, including that: one request was "inappropriate"; certain requests were overbroad and implicated unspecified privacy interests; and the requests were "well beyond the original framing contained in the March 28 letter." These are not proper objections to a congressional investigation. As you know, Congress’ oversight authority is "broad" and "indispensable." The only limit placed on this authority is a valid legislative purpose.  Congressional investigators are not precluded from seeking follow up records should new information come to light, nor are they limited to unilateral relevance determinations made by a witness," continued Chairman Wenstrup.

Read the letter to the American Federation of Teachers here.