Say It Ain't So Joe: University of Delaware Sued Over Biden Senate Records

Posted: Jul 09, 2020 2:15 PM
Say It Ain't So Joe: University of Delaware Sued Over Biden Senate Records

Source: (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) and Judicial Watch announced on Wednesday that they are suing over the University of Delaware for access to all of Joe Biden’s Senate records, housed in the university library.

Judicial Watch, a nonprofit conservative organization, filed a lawsuit against the university on behalf of itself and DCNF after denied Freedom of Information Act requests to school, according to the DCNF. Both organizations were hoping to obtain documents from Biden’s 36 years as a Delaware senator as well as any logs of those “who have visited the location where the records are stored.”

The lawsuit comes only a week after the Delaware Department of Justice denied DCNF’s appeal on July 1 after the FOIA had been previously denied. 

“The University of Delaware should do the right thing and turn over Joe Biden’s public records as required by law,” said DCNF President Neil Patel. “Partisan gamesmanship by a public university is unseemly and unlawful. If they don’t want to do the right thing, we will force them in court.”

Biden donated more than 1,850 boxes full of photographs, documents, videotapes, and files, and 415 gigabytes of digital records from his almost four decades in Senate to the University of Delaware in 2012. The school initially said the archival records, which contain committee reports, draft legislation, and correspondence would be made “available to the public two years after Biden’s last day in elected public office.” 

It’s been over three years since Biden left his post as vice president in 2017. However, when January 2019 passed, the records were still not made public. Then in April 2019, the university amended their initial claim, stating that the papers would remain sealed until December 31, 2019, or until two years after Biden “retires from public life,” whichever came later. Given that Biden is a presidential candidate, this obviously protects the school from having to give up the records in their eyes.  

On the University of Delaware Library website a disclaimer reads: 

"Vice President Biden donated his Senatorial papers to the University of Delaware pursuant to an agreement that prohibits the University from providing public access to those papers until they have been properly processed and archived. The University is bound by, and will comply with, the agreement. Until the archival process is complete and the collection is opened to the public, access is only available with Vice President Biden’s express consent."

"Vice President Biden and his designees have access, under supervision of Special Collections, to the materials during the process. No Biden designee has visited the collection since November, 2019. No documents have been added or removed by any Biden designees during any visits."

Biden’s Senate records were in high demand when Tara Reade came forward accusing her former boss of a 1993 sexual assault and she said that the university could be housing the formal complaint she made that documented harassment in Biden’s office. 

Both Biden and the Biden Campaign have rebuffed Reade's accusations. Biden said the records he gave to the University of Delaware do not contain any documents related to Reade’s sexual assault allegations due to the fact there are no personal records included in the archives. However, the refusal of the university to unseal the information speaks otherwise. 

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Reade appears to be in support of the lawsuits.  “I emailed Univ of Delaware and my request for my records was denied,” she tweeted Wednesday. “What if many people emailed [and] contacted the Univ of Delaware to unseal the files?”

Reade and both groups involved with the lawsuit are not the only ones to have had their requests denied. 

Fox News previously asked the University of Delaware for access to the Biden records. The university refused, giving the excuse that the papers will not be released until two years after Biden retires, a convenient loophole the school put in place. Biden didn’t announce he was running for president until late April of 2019, months after the information should have been made available to the public. 

“The collection of former Vice President Biden’s senatorial papers is still being processed, with many items yet to be cataloged,” said a spokesperson for the university. “The entire collection will remain closed to the public until two years after Mr. Biden retires from public life.”

The DCNF’s lawsuit was filed last week but has yet to be assigned a case number due to delays stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.