Officials at the U.S. Senate said Monday that they do not have the legal authority to release records related to Tara Reade, who alleges presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked for him in the Senate in the early 1990s.
“Senate Legal Counsel advises that the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information,” Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams said in a statement. She cited confidentiality procedures laid out in employment and civil rights laws related to Senate and government employees, as well as a Senate resolution deeming that “disclosure of Senate Records is not authorized if prohibited by law.”
In a letter Friday, Biden requested that Adams “direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search. I would ask that the public release include not only a complaint if one exists, but any and all other documents in the records that relate to the allegation.”
That request followed a contentious interview with “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski, in which Biden, after weeks of silence on the issue, denied Reade’s allegation and claimed there were no records of the incident or complaint.
Biden initially said any records related to Reade would be housed at the National Archives, and asked the institution to release relevant documents if there were any.
But later Friday, the National Archives said: “Any records of Senate personnel complaints from 1993 would have remained under the control of the Senate. Accordingly, inquiries related to these records should be directed to the Senate.”
When pressed by Brzezinski, Biden also refused to allow a search of his Senate papers, which are housed at the University of Delaware, claiming there were no records of Reade’s allegation there. The school has said the papers will remain sealed until at least the end of 2021 because Biden is still “in public life.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.