One of the most politically active and powerful labor unions had a direct line to the White House, which it used to allegedly interfere with plans to reopen America’s schools after the COVID-19 pandemic, causing widespread harm to children.
Now Congress wants to know more about how the American Federation of Teachers and its union boss, Randi Weingarten, used its political sway to interfere with school reopenings.
U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) is requesting the Biden administration turn over “all phone records between Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten related to AFT’s potential political interference with the CDC’s school reopening guidance,” the House Committee on Government Reform and Accountability reports.
One of the largest and wealthiest government unions, the AFT was a powerful force in Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, spending around $23 million in donations to, and ads supporting, liberal candidates for federal office.
“On June 13, 2023, Director Walensky testified to communicating with Ms. Weingarten via cell phone and agreed to cooperate with document requests made by the Select Subcommittee,” the Committee reports.
“Given Director Walensky’s testimony and her impending departure from the CDC, Chairman Wenstrup is prioritizing the preservation of her phone records and reiterating his March 28, 2023, and June 1, 2023, requests for additional documents and communications,” the Committee adds.
“Further, the Select Subcommittee is requesting transcribed interviews with three CDC employees that may have supplementary knowledge about potential political interference at the agency,” the Committee reports.
“On March 28, 2023, we wrote to you regarding potential political interference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), specifically regarding the CDC’s February 12, 2022, COVID-19 school reopening guidance titled, ‘Operation Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention.’ You failed to respond. Again, on June 1, 2023, we wrote to you regarding this issue. You have since only produced documents primarily consisting of those previously made public via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” wrote Wenstrup.
“During an April hearing with AFT president Weingarten, the Select Subcommittee learned — for the first time — that Ms. Weingarten had a direct telephone line to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Preserving all phone calls and text messages between the two officials will ensure accountability for any political interference,” the Committee reports.
“Further obstruction of congressional oversight by the CDC is suspicious and will not be tolerated by the Select Subcommittee as we execute the duties we were called upon to perform on behalf of the American people,” the Committee concludes.