Tara Reade, Bob Packwood, and The Capitol in 1993
Tara Reade was a Senate staffer for Senator Joe Biden. Presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden is a very powerful, rich, and connected white man who’s been around for a long time. He easily could’ve done what Tara Reade alleges. I’m only addressing what the environment was like in Washington DC when Reade said she filed her complaint against Biden and what would have happened.
When Tara Reade Accused Joe Biden
In 1993, Joe Biden was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Joint Committee on Organization of Congress (JCOC) Ethics Committee met in February resulting in the Senate bestowing more empowerment to victims of sexual harassment and assault by allowing non-member inquiry panels to review complaints. Why?
Senator Bob Packwood
The United States Solicitor General Drew Days had just been charged by the Senate to review the diaries of Senator Bob Packwood. Because of the salacious revelations in Packwood’s personal diaries, the Senate was pursuing any and all cases of alleged sexual harassment and/or assault. Also as a result of Packwood, the Ethics in Government Act was amended to give the independent council investigating Packwood near universal access when it came to reviewing documents, security cameras, and visitors logs.
For those of you not alive or who have forgotten, it was a nonstop media circus at the Capitol in 1993. I was twelve and remember this because of the man’s name (giggle giggle) Packwood’s trial started January 1993 and extended through November, the exact time Reade’s complaint was said to have been filed.
The Senate Ethics Committee report from the time stated that for starting months prior to the trial, depositions were taken from any woman that would come forward regarding Packwood. For you due process fans, there was indeed an investigation and a committee welcoming any woman who had a grievance to come forward and speak on the grounds of anonymity. This was in April of 1993, right after the JCOC convening leading to the amendment of the Ethics in Government Act.
What Happened When Tara Reade Filed A Complaint?
Pursuant to federal records guidelines, the records of personnel belong to the government and not the Senators they work for. In case of transfer, the only thing that changes is who the staffer reports to. The record remains the same.
For this reason, when a formal complaint of any nature is filed in the Senate, no matter how frivolous or small, the policy is that a copy of the complaint goes to the issuer, defendant and the Office of Personnel Management as part of an audit trail inclusive of both Senators and their staffers. This process is used along with the ethics review system to ensure that all violations in ethics are not only documented in agency records, but also investigated. The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), spearheaded in 2008 by Speaker Pelosi, established the guidelines we now are accustomed to regarding congressional misconduct.
Could A Tara Reade Complaint Just Disappear?
Assuming that Biden received the complaint Reade said she filed, pursuant to the rules set forth in the JCOC, an independent panel would’ve reviewed the claim and determine whether there was evidence to proceed. These would be agency papers per the FOIA guidelines; therefore, a copy would be made for his record, her records, and OPM for auditing purposes.
The timeframe Reade’s complaint was made had the backdrop of the largest government ethics scandal since Watergate complete with thousands of media and investigators scouring the capital looking for any semblance of any kind of sexual impropriety.
In order for the record of the complaint to disappear, Biden would’ve had to:
a) convince an independent panel in no mood for misconduct to not turn it over to the ethics board;
b) convince them that 100% of the documentation is personal rather than agency property;
c) hope Tara doesn’t also tell the cacophony of reporters eager for a Packwood scoop that she was also harrassed;
d) or doesn’t report it to the open inquiry panel presiding in the senate;
e) hope that his conduct wasn’t recorded on the massive CCTV network in Capitol Hill;
f) hope that OPM somehow loses any and all agency records of the complaint and;
g) hope that as chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his records aren’t audited by GAO regularly (narrator: they are).
Impossible? Not for James Bond or Jason Bourne. But Joe Biden? Not likely that he gets through a-f for almost 30 years with out a single person noticing. Especially when you consider that his record (including his senate personal records) were public record until they were donated in 2011.
If this complaint went unnoticed, it would be malpractice that the likes of government and elections have not seen in recent history. It would mean that not only did the ethics committee, the special committee, and the solicitor general miss the complaint, so did Rick Davis, McCain’s political analyst when he looked. So did Karl Rove. and 6 other campaigns since 1994.
I don’t know if Joe Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade and neither does anyone else outside of the two of them. I am as close to 100 percent sure as one can be that if a complaint was filed, there is evidence of it somewhere and it would have appeared long before now.