EXCLUSIVE — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is demanding access to all communications between the Department of Justice and the American Medical Association (AMA), which last week asked the attorney general to investigate and prosecute alleged “disinformation campaigns” against gender-altering surgeries for minors.
In a Monday evening letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, Cruz accused the department of a “continued pattern of abusing its investigative authority to police the speech of Americans and stifle ongoing policy debates,” He said the Oct. 3 letter from the AMA raises the possibility that the DOJ will try to act on that request by taking action against people who openly criticize gender-related surgeries.
“This request by advocacy organizations to have the federal government stifle critical speech on their behalf would have been unthinkable before your tenure as Attorney General.” Cruz wrote. But he said the Biden administration has supported these kinds of efforts in the past.
Cruz noted, for example, that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona invited a request from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to “target parents” who were mad about efforts to teach critical race theory in school.
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“Five days later, in response to this letter, you issued your October 4th memorandum directing the FBI to involve itself in policing public discourse, using the NSBA letter as a pretext,” Cruz wrote. “In compliance with your memorandum, the FBI’s Counterterrorism and Criminal Divisions created the threat tag ‘EDUOFFICIALS,’ and opened dozens of investigations into the activities of concerned parents.”
“It is important to note that violence and threats are not protected speech and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Cruz wrote. “However, parents who voice their concerns about the health and safety of their children, or express opinions on matters of public policy more generally, are engaged in core First Amendment activity.”
The AMA, along with the Children’s Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, made a similar request this month by asking the DOJ to take “swift action to investigate and prosecute” people involved in an “intentional campaign of disinformation” surrounding the debate over gender reassignment surgeries for minors.
“If there is a bedrock principle in American self-governance, it is that the federal government has no place in quashing or criminalizing civic discourse,” Cruz wrote.
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“The issue of how best to treat minors struggling with their gender dysphoria is the subject of ongoing and emotional debate, which Americans have a protected First Amendment right to fully engage in,” he said.
Boston Children’s Hospital this summer came under fire for its Center for Gender Surgery that performs mastectomies on teenagers as young as 15 and wording on the hospital’s website, later deleted, that claimed teens as young as 17 can get vaginoplasties.
The hospital’s website stated as recently as Aug. 12 that “to qualify for gender affirmation at Boston Children’s Hospital, you must be at least 18 years old for phalloplasty or metoidioplasty and at least 17 years old for vaginoplasty.”
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In addition to asking the DOJ to provide all communications between the department and any of the medical groups, the senator asked if officials solicited the Oct. 3 letter.
Cruz asked Garland to provide clarity on the department’s view of whether people expressing different views on gender reassignment surgeries for minors is a “prosecutable offense,” and if so, what laws are being violated.
“The strength of our democracy is dependent on the ability of all citizens to peacefully participate in public debate without fear of persecution from your agency or any other,” Cruz wrote.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.