The Secretary of the Senate has informed former Vice President Joe Biden that it has “no discretion to disclose” the existence of former aide Tara Reade’s complaint of sexual harassment against the then-senator in 1993.
Biden on Friday wrote to Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams asking to direct the search for records of any complaint registered by Tara Reade, and to disclose to the public the results of the search.
The office in a statement provided to The Hill said the Senate Legal Counsel has advised the “Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden’s letter of May 1.”
The legal office of the Senate reviewed records of the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and determined that any complaint filed could not legally be made public by “the law’s strict confidentiality requirements (Section 313) and the Senate’s own direction that disclosure of Senate Records is not authorized if prohibited by law.”
The Biden campaign responded to the secretary’s decision later Monday with three questions: if the existence of the records is subject to disclosure; if there is anyone else, such as Reade, who could request the release of the related documents; and if the Senate could release procedures and materials that the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices followed in 1993 for processing these types of complaints.
Archivists familiar with the procedure say that it is standard to keep the records of contemporary politicians closed.