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It looks like Tara Reade’s original sexual assault complaint against Joe Biden won’t be released into the public domain.
On May 1, the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee and Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years wrote the Secretary of the U.S. Senate and asked her to search the records for the purported complaint and make public any of the findings.
In response, Secretary Julie Adams, who apparently is a GOP appointee, released a statement indicating, that based on legal advice, “the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as request in Vice President Biden’s letter of May 1.”
Secretary of the Senate responds to Joe Biden’s request to review any alleged complaint filed by Tara Reade and release it: No can do.
Office has “no discretion to disclose any such information.” pic.twitter.com/IBNfrl4fjm
— Susan Davis (@DaviSusan) May 4, 2020
The Senate’s legal counsel determined federal statutes applicable to confidentiality requirements of Senate records prohibit disclosure of personnel information.
Joe Biden represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009.
Setting aside whether the position is supported by sound legal reasoning, one wonders, perhaps cynically, if Team Biden knew that the federal law tied the hands of the Senate Secretary before they submitted the request for full disclosure.
There also could be a bipartisan consensus that establishing a precedent to open up the trove could reveal damaging information about lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
It remains to be seen if the law could permit Biden to sign a waiver and thus allow access to Reade’s complaint, if it exists under Senate lock and key, or if any other legal workarounds exist.
Allegedly the secretary of the senate records (Republican) is saying she can’t release the documents Biden wanted released because of “confidentiality laws”
To the best of my knowledge both Biden and Tara want these records made public. Who’s confidentiality are they violating?
— Curtis Gittelman🇺🇸 (@CurtisGittelman) May 4, 2020
The legal wrangling, including the possibility perhaps of open-records lawsuits, will likely continue.
Tara Reade claims she filed a written complaint against Biden for the alleged 1993 assault that occurred while she worked on Capitol Hill in Biden’s office, although she apparently doesn’t have a firm recollection of the exact language she used.
On Twitter, she insisted that she filed the complaint with the Senate personnel office, and Sleepy Joe might be able to help locate it.
Correct and the headline was quite misleading. I filed the intake form regarding sexual harassment and retaliation however that was articulated on form in 1993.
I filed with Senate Personnel. Perhaps Joe Biden knows where that form is located. Ask him. https://t.co/vvA4OC717p
— Tara Reade 🦋 (@ReadeAlexandra) May 3, 2020
Biden went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last Friday and categorically denied the allegation. At that time, Biden called for the National Archives to release any such complaint, but it turns out that no employment-related records are housed there.
Most of the Democrat establishment, including prominent female elected officials such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, say they believe Biden’s denials.
In the same MSNBC interview, Biden seemed to rule out unsealing any of his papers that are stored in the University of Delaware for any mention of Tara Reade. “There’s nothing there,” he insisted.
The Democrat National Committee has rejected a proposal by the New York Times to set up an independent panel to examine the Tara Reade allegations against Biden.
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