Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan is demanding answers from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas regarding how the Biden administration is enforcing federal law in Portland, Oregon, according to two letters obtained by the Daily Caller.
The letters, sent Monday, note that “anarchists and violent left-wing extremists continue to vandalize and destroy federal property in Portland.” The city experienced over one hundred days of consecutive unrest following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was recently forced to re-install fencing around the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse just days after it was removed due to attacks on the building.
Jordan cited journalist Andy Ngo’s February 2021 testimony in front of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in both letters. He noted that Ngo testified about “antifa and left-wing anarchists” developing “a riot apparatus that included streams of funding for accommodation, travel, riot gear, and weapons, which resulted in a murder, hundreds of arson attacks, mass injuries, and mass property destruction.”
In the letter to Mayorkas, the Ohio lawmaker requested an explanation on what the DHS or the Federal Protective Service (FPS) is doing “to protect federal personnel and federal property” in the city. The letter also asked for explanation on what is being done to prevent further destruction to federal property as well as whether the DHS “still believes that it has the authority, the mission, and the intent to enforce federal law and protect federal property in Portland.”
“The Biden administration has a duty to ensure federal law is enforced and that both federal property and federal personnel are protected and kept safe from violent extremists in Portland,” Jordan wrote in both letters.
Jordan’s letter to Garland focused on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and asked for information regarding efforts surrounding identifying and prosecuting individuals responsible for the attacks on federal property and law enforcement. He also requested transparency with the DOJ’s plans to prevent further attacks, asked for clarification on whether the department still blames the city for allowing the unrest and wondered whether it stands by its previous characterization of “peaceful protesters.”
Former Attorney General William Barr said in 2020 that “peaceful protesters do not throw explosives into federal courthouses, tear down plywood with crowbars, or launch fecal matter at federal officers,” according to Jordan’s letter. The DOJ named Portland as one of the cities that has “permitted violence and destruction of property to persist” in Sept. 2020.
Jordan gave Garland and Mayorkas until 5:00 p.m. on April 12, 2021 to respond to the letters. The letters come amid continued unrest in Portland, Oregon.
The city approved cuts to its police department in 2020 and the current cost of repairs to various federal buildings in the city reportedly sits at around $2.3 million, Jordan noted.
Neither Garland nor Mayorkas’s offices immediately responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, who was included on both letters, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.