Late last week, Joe Biden released a bizarre two-page statement. It began acknowledging April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” but immediately turned to his defense of the Tara Reade allegations. Biden vehemently denied the accusations and pivoted to the Senate as responsible for finding documentation on the matter. “There is a clear, critical party of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint” Biden stated.
After chastising Ms. Reade for not having any record, he immediately admits he too would not have possession of any complaint in the very next sentence: “The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files.” Biden then says, “there is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives.”
“I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document,” Biden’s statement demands. The Senate worked fast, as they responded to the presidential hopeful Monday morning. Secretary of the United States Senate Julie Adams released a statement saying, “the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden’s letter of May 1.”
Full Biden statement: pic.twitter.com/CNUHFJhaAL
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) May 1, 2020
Specifically, the statement disclosed the Senate legal counsel had reviewed any relevant statutes relating to such records and cited the law’s confidentiality requirements as well as past Senate guidance:
Based on the law’s strict confidentiality requirements (Section 313) and the Senate’s own direction that disclosure of Senate Records is not authorized if prohibited by law (Senate Resolution 474, 96thCongress, Section 3(a)), Senate Legal Counsel advises that the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden’s letter of May 1.
Biden’s statement references the National Archives and his belief that they would obtain any complaint due to Fair Employment Practices. “The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices,” Biden’s statement said. The National Archives issued a statement saying any Fair Employment Office complaint “would have remained under the control of the Senate.”
Despite the confusion as to where the complaint may live, no entity has denied or confirmed its existence. It is only the protocol to release any such document that is being discussed; not the merits or occurrence of the alleged complaint. “Adams’ Monday statement did not deny that the complaint might exist or that it could be at the National Archives. It said that she would not be able to release the complaint if it does exist because of a law that ensures the confidentiality of such complaints,” reported Fox News.
Reportedly the Biden campaign has since contacted the secretary of the Senate to ask if the “existence of any such records’ is subject to the same ‘prohibition on disclosure,’ if there is anyone who could lawfully view them, and if the Senate could release the procedures followed for the year in question for such complaints” according to Fox News.