University of Delaware Rejects FOIA Requests on Biden Records

University of Delaware Rejects FOIA Requests on Biden Records
Democratic presidential hopeful former vice president Joe Biden makes a point as he and Senator Bernie Sanders take part in the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, on March 15, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The University of Delaware has refused to provide Fox News with a collection of senatorial papers linked to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is accused of sexual assault by his former staffer Tara Reade.

The news outlet reported Thursday that after it submitted requests for the records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) last month, the Delaware university cited a provision in the law that purportedly exempts it from disclosing information unrelated to “public funds.”

Fox News said it sent the the University of Delaware three FOIA requests on April 29 and April 30, asking for records which relate to Reade’s sexual assault allegations against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Reade, who worked for Biden when he was a U.S. senator, initially accused Biden of sexual harassment. She elevated her complaint to sexual assault this year.

One of the requests asked for records from 1993 which specifically contain the name “Tara Reade” by either her first or last name, or those which mention complaints filed against the former vice president “or any of the staffers in his Senate office.”

tara reade
Tara Reade poses for a photograph during an interview in Nevada City, Calif., on April 4, 2019. (Donald Thompson/AP Photo)

Another FOIA request asked the University of Delaware for “a copy of the gift agreement between the University of Delaware and Joseph R. Biden Jr.,” related to Biden’s senatorial papers and “any other documents that relate to the university’s policy of releasing the records “no sooner than the later date of Dec. 31, 2019, or two years after the donor retires from public life.”

The requests were rejected on the basis that they “do not relate to the expenditure of public funds, as defined by FOIA,” the university’s Associate Vice President and General Counsel Jennifer Becnel-Guzzo said.

The third public records request sent by Fox News asked for “all correspondence involving any members of the University of Delaware’s board of trustees, the university president, or any employees of the university library” related to Biden’s senatorial papers, or his presidential run after March 1—the same month Reade elevated her complaint against Biden to sexual assault.

Becnel-Guzzo told the news outlet that while the University of Delaware’s board meetings are subject to FOIA requests under Delaware’s FOIA law, there are no records of the matters being discussed by the university’s board of trustees.

“The candidacy of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. for president and the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. senatorial papers were never addressed in a meeting of the full board of trustees,” Becnel-Guzzo responded. “Therefore, the university has no public records responsive to your three requests.”

Former vice president Joe Biden
Former vice president Joe Biden leaves a rally organized by UFCW Union members to support Stop and Shop employees on strike throughout the region at the Stop and Shop in Dorchester, Mass., on April 18, 2019. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

The university has previously said that documents related to when Biden was a U.S. senator representing Delaware will not be released without his “express consent.”

Reade she was initially reluctant to go public with the assault allegations because she was being threatened after accusing Biden of harassment in 2019.

“Already I was being threatened and kind of smeared, and I just I wasn’t ready,” she told The Associated Press. “So I talked about the sexual harassment and what I was comfortable talking about, but I wasn’t ready to talk about sexual assault.”

Reade filed a police report in Washington in April saying she was the victim of a sexual assault. She has told news outlets that Biden accosted her at the U.S. Capitol.

While no former Biden workers have supported Reade’s claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, others have, including a woman who lived near Reade in 1995 and 1996 and another woman who worked with Reade for California State Sen. Jack O’Connell after Reade left Washington.

Reade’s brother has said his sister was upset in 1993 about Biden inappropriately touching her and that she told him that year that the congressman sexually assaulted her.

Several of Reade’s friends have also corroborated details of Reade’s story.

Reade and seven other women last year accused Biden of inappropriate touching, with some of them alleging sexual misconduct.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Biden campaign for comment

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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