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Secretary of Senate declines to disclose information on Tara Reade complaint against Biden
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 assault against the then-senator in 1993.
Biden gave his first media interview Friday denying Reade's allegation that he pushed her against a wall and sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she worked for him.
On Friday, he wrote to Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams asking "that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this Office, and once they have been located, to direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search."
The office in a statement provided to The Hill said the Senate legal counsel had advised the "Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden's letter of May 1."
Reade said she filed a complaint with the Senate 27 years ago alleging sexual assault and raising concerns about possible retaliation but admitted over the weekend that she's not sure what precise language she used.
The Senate's legal office reviewed the records of the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
The office determined that any complaint filed against Biden could not be made public "based on 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."
Former White House counsel Bob Bauer, who served in the Obama administration, responded on behalf of Biden by asking the Secretary of the Senate if she is also prohibited from disclosing whether whether any relevant records exist.
"Is there anyone, such as the complainant, to whom such records, if they exist, could be lawfully disclosed," Bauer asked.
The Democratic lawyer also asked for an explanation of Senate procedures at the time of the complaint.
"Could the Senate release the procedures and related materials, including any standard forms or instructions, that the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices followed in 1993 for the intake and processing of any complaint of this kind?" Bauer asked, according to a statement from the Biden campaign.
Updated at 3:15 p.m.