The secretary of the Senate has "no discretion" to release documents pertaining to sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the secretary's office said in a statement Monday.
"Based on the law's strict confidentiality requirements … Senate Legal Counsel advises that the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested in Vice President Biden's letter of May 1," the statement said.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is facing scrutiny after former Senate staffer Tara Reade alleged that he penetrated her with his fingers in a congressional hallway in 1993. Reade has said she submitted a harassment and retaliation complaint against Biden's office. Biden, who has denied the charges, on Friday sent a letter asking Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams to "direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search." Adams's office said that it cannot do so in a statement issued Monday morning, citing confidentiality requirements from a 1991 law governing personnel complaints.
Biden has refused to release documents from his Senate career that are currently sealed at the University of Delaware, saying the archive contains policy positions that would become "fodder in a campaign at this time." He has instead said that any record of the complaint could be found elsewhere. Biden claimed in a Friday statement that any sexual harassment complaint filed against him in the Senate would have been held at the National Archives. He called on the agency to "identify any record of the complaint … and make available to the press any such document." A National Archives spokesman said such records "would have remained under the control of the Senate."
"Any records of Senate personnel complaints from 1993 would have remained under the control of the Senate. Accordingly, inquiries related to these records should be directed to the Senate," the National Archives spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday.