The secretary of the United States Senate on Monday turned down a request by Joe Biden to search through records in its possession in hopes of locating a sexual harassment complaint by Tara Reade, a onetime congressional staffer for the former vice president who is now accusing him of sexual assault.
In a statement announcing its decision, the secretary’s office pointed to both federal law and Senate rules prohibiting the release of personnel and employment records in order to ensure the privacy of all those involved.
“Senate Legal Counsel advises that the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested,” the statement reads.
The response comes after the former vice president sent the secretary a letter on Friday for a search and release of any sexual harassment complaint Reade may have filed with the Senate’s Office of Fair Employment Practices in the early 1990s while working on his congressional staff.
Reade, who worked for Biden’s congressional office between 1992 and 1993, had initially come forward last April to accuse the former vice president of unwanted touching. At the time, she told a local California news outlet that she had filed a complaint noting the misconduct with the Senate’s personnel office when it purportedly occurred. In March of this year, however, she claimed there was more to the story, asserting that Biden had pushed her up against a wall, forcibly kissed her, and digitally penetrated her sometime in 1993.
The new accusation has been difficult to corroborate given that nearly 30 years have passed since the supposed incident took place. As such, Reade has sought to make public the sexual harassment complaint she allegedly filed in 1993, especially as former Biden staffers claim no such document exists. Reade, for her part, has contended that not only does the complaint exist, but it is likely within the thousands of Senate documents the former vice president donated to the University of Delaware in 2011.
On Friday, in a lengthy statement released ahead of an appearance on MSNBC, the former vice president insisted his Senate papers do not hold such records. Biden initially claimed the National Archives and Records Administration was the logical place for such a complaint to reside if did exist, a claim that was refuted by agency.
“Any records of Senate personnel complaints from 1993 would have remained under the control of the Senate,” a representative from the National Archives told Breitbart News on Friday.
With the secretary of the Senate making its announcement on Monday, however, now it is likely the complaint, if it does exist, can only be made public through a congressional action.
The secretary’s office did not return requests for comment before press time.