Marjorie Taylor Greene Mocked for Claim School Received $5.1B for CRT

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was ridiculed over Twitter on Wednesday after claiming that an elementary school in Illinois had received over $5 billion in COVID-19 federal relief funding to be used toward critical race theory curriculum.

Greene made her statement during the House Oversight and Accountability Committee's first hearing of the new congressional term, which focused on times when pandemic-related federal aid was allegedly used for waste or fraudulent spending.

Greene in particular spent her portion of the hearing directing questions to Gene Dodaro, the comptroller general of the U.S. and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

According to the Georgia Republican, millions of dollars of "COVID cash" was misused by local governments and programs across the country for initiatives that did not address the most important issues at hand during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

During her questions on Wednesday, Greene specifically asked Dodaro about times federal funding may have been used for abortion services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America or put toward drag queen story hours.

Green Mocked For Statement About COVID Funding
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene participates in a meeting on Capitol Hill on January 31 in Washington, D.C. Greene was ridiculed over Twitter on Wednesday after claiming that a school in Illinois had received over $5 billion in COVID-19 federal relief funding, which she alleged had been used to teach "equity and diversity." Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

In a clip shared on Twitter by the user @Acyn, Greene in particular asked Dodaro if he could tell the committee how much federal funding was allocated for critical race theory, an academic and legal framework that holds that racism is embedded in America's legal system and institutions.

"I do not know that," Dodaro answered. "But I do know there's provisions that the federal funds generally are not used...supposed to be used for curriculum."

"Oh Mr. Dodaro, I have to tell you in Illinois, that they received $5.1 billion at an elementary school there that used it for equity and diversity," Greene tells the comptroller. "So it's being used for these things."

When asked for comment, Greene's communications director, Nick Dyer, clarified to Newsweek that the congresswoman had misspoken and that she was referring to "the entire Illinois elementary and secondary school system."

But Twitter users still mocked Greene for insinuating that $5.1 billion of the relief funding had been allocated to just one school district, including Maryland attorney Tom Coale, who joked: "If a school received $5.1 billion for equity training, the impact would be so large even MTG would be a little less racist."

Former Democratic congressional candidate Shannon Freshour, who challenged Ohio Representative Jim Jordan in the 2020 general election, tweeted in response to Greene's statement, "Did she just insanely lie that one elementary school in IL got $5.1 BILLION (w/a 'B') to use for CRT?"

Actress Nancy Lee Grahn also reposted the video of Greene's claim, writing in her caption, "#MarjorieTaylorGreene once again showing us that you can't make this stuff up... and yet she does, everyday."

"5.1 Billion did not go to an elementary school but she has clearly spent that much on steroids, bleach and tanner," Grahn added.

A few Republicans came to Greene's aid, however, including former Illinois congressional candidate Jack Lombardi, who seconded Greene's claim about the amount of federal pandemic aid that was sent to Illinois.

"We DID receive $5.1 BILLION federal money, of which a good portion was pumped into CRT & equity programs," Lombardi tweeted Wednesday. "I believe @mtgreenee misspoke. However, her overall point was how Federal money was used."

Former Iowa congressional candidate Steve Reeder also supported Greene, writing in response to a user who ridiculed her statement that the congresswoman "was referring to the US Dept of Education approving $5.1 Billion to the State of Illinois."

"Maybe she was not as articulate on this one statement as Biden is all the time but you knew what she was referring to," Reeder added. "And it was to push CRT which creates nothing more than division."

Dyer also directed Newsweek to an April 2022 report from Fox News that claims that Democratic-led states such as Illinois were using COVID relief funding "to push core tenets of critical race theory in public schools."

More specifically, the report found that $5.1 billion in funding had been awarded to the Illinois Board of Education "for its reopening plan that implemented strategies with 'an emphasis on equity and diversity.'"

According to a report from the Illinois Policy Institute, nearly $7.9 billion in federal pandemic relief programs was allocated to Illinois school districts, and roughly 10 percent of the funds were directed toward immediate needs identified by the Illinois State Board of Education, which included virtual coaching for new teachers and access to learning through laptops for students.

It is also unclear how much of the $4.6 trillion in federal pandemic relief was spent fraudulently, but as CBS News reported Wednesday, over 1,000 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted of defrauding COVID-19 relief programs.

CBS News added that the GAO estimated in December that over $60 billion of unemployment insurance payments had been fraudulently claimed during the pandemic.

Newsweek reached out to Greene's office for comment.