Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed its opening brief in its lawsuit for access to former Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate records at the University of Delaware. The new court filing comes in Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation’s lawsuit filed after a Delaware Attorney General’s opinion denied them access to former Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate records, which are housed at the University of Delaware’s library (Daily Caller News Foundation v. University of Delaware (No. N20A-07-001)). The Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware on July 2, 2020.
The lawsuit is challenging a state attorney general opinion that the Biden records are not “public records” because, the opinion concludes without evidence, no public funds are used to support the Biden records project at the University of Delaware.
Judicial Watch responded in court that it is impossible for the Biden Senate documents, which are housed in the University of Delaware’s Library to not be supported by public funds. Judicial Watch notes that the University admitted that “[t]he State of Delaware provides the University with approximately $120 million each year through an appropriation in the state budget,” but never shows how public funds are not used to support the papers.
Judicial Watch further points out that “archival storage space and professional staff members’ time are things of value that it can be inferred are paid for with public funds,” and notes that the requests even listed the, “University personnel who maintain the Senatorial Papers whose salaries, it can be inferred, are paid with State funds.” Judicial Watch requests that the Court order the University to search for and produce the requested records.
“Anyone running for public office, especially our highest office, should expect public scrutiny of their record, especially of their public record,” said Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel. “It’s amazing that Joe Biden’s public papers are still sealed and nobody else in the press seems to care. We care and we are going to fight to get these records opened up as they should be.”
“Delaware is hiding, in violation of law, Joe Biden’s Senate records,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is time for the University of Delaware to stop protecting Joe Biden and follow Delaware law, which requires them to provide public access to these public records.”
Judicial Watch filed its FOIA lawsuit after the University denied its April 30, 2020, FOIA request for:
- All records regarding the proposed release of the records pertaining to former Vice President Joe Biden’s tenure as a Senator that have been housed at the University of Delaware Library since 2012. This request includes all related records of communication between the University of Delaware and any other records created pertaining to any meeting of the Board of Trustees during which the proposed release of the records was discussed.
- All records of communication between any representative of the University of Delaware and former Vice President Biden or any other individual acting on his behalf between January 1, 2018 and the present.
On April 30, the Daily Caller News Foundation submitted its FOIA request to the University for:
- All agreements concerning the storage of more than 1,850 boxes of archival records and 415 gigabytes of electronic records from Joe Biden’s senate career from 1973 through 2009.
- Communications between the staff of the University of Delaware Library and Joe Biden or his senatorial, vice-presidential or political campaign staff, or for anyone representing any of those entities between 2010 [April 30,2020] about Joe Biden’s senate records.
- Any logs or sign-in sheets recording any individuals who have visited the special-collections department where records from Joe Biden’s senate career are stored between 2010 to the date of this request.
- All records from Joe Biden’s Senate career that have been submitted to the University of Delaware Library.
Tara Reade, who accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when she worked as a staff assistant to the then-senator, has said that she believes a workplace discrimination and harassment complaint she filed against Biden at the time may be in the records housed at the University of Delaware. Biden also admitted to communicating with Vladimir Putin and other foreign leaders when he was a United State Senator.
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are being represented by Delaware lawyers Ted Kittila and Bill Green of Halloran Farkas + Kittila LLP.