Election 2020

U of Delaware Must Release Biden Senate Records Amid #MeToo Scandal, FOIA Request Demands

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden points to his doggie bag as he leaves the Buttercup Diner during a campaign stop in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The University of Delaware must release presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s Senate records, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request the pro-Trump super PAC Great America PAC filed on Thursday. Great America PAC insisted that former Biden staffer Tara Reade’s sexual assault claims made it even more important for the university to release the papers — which are already public record. Reade claims Biden digitally penetrated her in 1993, claims the presidential campaign denies — but which Biden has not personally addressed.

“While Democratic leaders and the national media can try to protect Joe Biden by ignoring this serious allegation, the University of Delaware cannot do the same,” Ed Rollins, the PAC’s chairman, said in a statement. “As a publicly funded university holding public records, they must immediately release these critical documents in the public interest. Furthermore, since Joe Biden claims the allegations are false, he should want these records released to help clear his name. If Biden blocks their release, what is he hiding?”

In the FOIA request, the PAC contends that Biden’s Senate records are public to begin with, and they are now in the possession of a state institution, which is regularly cataloging and managing them.

The university said the papers would be open to scholarly investigation and to the public two years after Biden stepped down as vice president, but January 2019 came and went with no papers released. On April 24, 2019, the day before Biden announced his presidential campaign, the university revised the schedule, saying, “The papers would now remain sealed until December 31,2019, or until two years after Biden retires from public life, whichever came later,” The Atlantic‘s Peter Beinart reported.

Some of Reade’s former colleagues have disputed her claims, but the accuser’s friend and her brother confirmed that she had been torn up about the alleged abuse. Two more witnesses — a neighbor and a former coworker — also confirmed that the alleged victim had confided in them regarding the abuse. Reade’s story has changed, however. At first, she said she resigned from Biden’s staff after a fundraiser in which he made her serve alcoholic drinks. Later, she claimed she was terminated in retaliation for having filed a sexual harassment report against Biden.

The former senator’s Senate records could help clear up the story — and they may prove the presidential candidate innocent of Reade’s claims.

Rather than addressing the claims head-on, however, the Biden team cited The New York Times, falsely claiming that a Times investigation had conclusively determined “this incident did not happen.” The Times released a statement condemning this twisting of the paper’s reporting, calling it “inaccurate.” This did not stop Democrats like Stacey Abrams from lying about the Times report, however.

If Biden is innocent, why does his campaign team feel the need to lie about The New York Times‘s reporting? If he is innocent, why doesn’t he release his Senate records? What does the former vice president want to hide?

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

New York Times: Biden Team Is Lying About Our Reporting on Tara Reade