WASHINGTON – The secretary of the Senate has declined Joe Biden’s request to release any potential documents pertaining to an allegation of sexual assault against him from a former Senate staffer, citing confidentiality requirements under the law.
Biden made the request Friday after delivering his first public comments responding to the allegation from former staffer Tara Reade that he sexually assaulted her in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the spring of 1993. Biden has denied the allegation.
In response, the secretary of the Senate told Biden’s legal counsel in an email that after reviewing the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 and a Senate resolution regarding the release of Senate records, “based on the law’s strict confidentiality requirements,” the Senate legal counsel has advised the Secretary “has no discretion to disclose any such information.”
The Biden campaign followed up in response to the secretary of the Senate with three additional questions, asking if they could disclose whether the records exist, if there is anyone to whom the records could be lawfully disclosed and if the Senate could release any procedures used by the office that would have overseen a sexual harassment complaint on Capitol Hill in the 1990s.
Reade has said she filed a partial report with a congressional personnel office outlining broad details of her concerns with Biden that she believes could offer proof of some of her allegations. But she said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press that she did not use the words “sexual harassment” or “sexual assault” in her complaint, but rather described an incident she said amounted to sexual harassment and the retaliation she faced afterward.