12 votes

What seventy-four former Biden staffers think about Tara Reade’s allegations

24 comments

  1. [2]
    dubteedub
    (edited )
    Link
    So PBS talked with 74 former Biden Senate staffers, 62 of whom were women to get a better understanding of the allegations by Tara. In addition, it appears that new information has come to light...

    So PBS talked with 74 former Biden Senate staffers, 62 of whom were women to get a better understanding of the allegations by Tara.

    None of the people interviewed said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade.

    In addition, it appears that new information has come to light that Tara was actually let go due to poor job performance, not retaliation as she claims.

    The interviews revealed previously unreported details about the Biden office when Reade worked there, such as an account that she lost her job because of her poor performance, not as retaliation for lodging complaints about sexual harassment, as Reade has said.

    Ben Savage, who said his desk was next to Reade’s in the Biden mailroom, disputed her charge that she was forced out of her job in retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint she claims to have filed.

    Savage, who worked as the office’s systems administrator, overseeing computers and information processing, told the NewsHour that Reade was fired for her poor performance on the job, which he witnessed — not as retaliation for her complaints about sexual harassment.

    But according to Savage, Reade had been mishandling a key part of her job and an essential office task — processing constituent mail, something they worked on together. Savage said he recalls reporting these issues to his boss, deputy chief of staff Dennis Toner. After that, Savage said he began diminishing Reade’s duties, taking over some of her tasks and rerouting parts of the process to exclude her.

    “Of all the people who held that position, she’s the only one during my time there who couldn’t necessarily keep up or who found it frustrating,” said Savage, who worked in the office for three years, from 1993 to 1996.

    Tara did not speak with PBS on the record on this, nor did any of her corroborators.

    Reade’s story has been corroborated publicly by three people who spoke with other news organizations, saying she told them in the past about the alleged assault. Despite numerous attempts to contact them via phone, email and through a lawyer, none of them responded or could be reached for comment on this story.

    Reade has also claimed that she was reprimanded for wearing inappropriate dress. Staffers with Biden confirmed that, as well as stated that she was not in fact dressed appropriately.

    Reade has claimed a supervisor admonished her for the way she dressed and asked her to be more modest. She has claimed this was a baseless criticism and retaliation for her complaint about sexual harassment from Biden.

    A woman who worked with Reade, but who spoke to the NewsHour on the condition she not be named, said she remembers Reade mentioning that she was scolded for her attire and that Reade asked her if it was a legitimate complaint. That coworker and two other staffers who worked with Reade said they believe she was not appropriately dressed for work.

    The staffers also raise issues with the potential location of such an assault and the fact that staffers were banned from doing campaign work (which directly contradicts Tara's claim she was asked to serve drinks at a fundraiser). There are just so many holes and issues with Tara's story that do not appear to be based in reality.

    Tara's story has been given an extremely rigorous investigation by multiple outlets and it has come up extremely short in my opinion. At this point, I feel comfortable in saying that I do not believe Tara was assaulted by Joe Biden while she was a staffer in his office.

    14 votes
    1. streblo
      Link Parent
      I'm all for hearing this woman's side of the story but at this point it looks like an obvious smear campaign with two objectives beyond tarring Biden: make sexual assault allegations political...

      I'm all for hearing this woman's side of the story but at this point it looks like an obvious smear campaign with two objectives beyond tarring Biden:

      1. make sexual assault allegations political i.e. the Democrats only care when it happens to Republicans
      2. when it eventually all blows up or fizzles out -- just another example of a false rape accusation

      Pretty gross, and unfortunately the Bernie camp ate it up.

      11 votes
  2. [18]
    wycy
    Link
    How 65 women came to Kavanaugh’s defense in matter of hours Funny how both sides use the same tactics.

    How 65 women came to Kavanaugh’s defense in matter of hours

    Funny how both sides use the same tactics.

    14 votes
    1. [12]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      There is a huge difference between 65 friends of Brett Kavanaugh signing a letter and dozens of Senate staffers disputing a claim of a hostile work environment.

      There is a huge difference between 65 friends of Brett Kavanaugh signing a letter and dozens of Senate staffers disputing a claim of a hostile work environment.

      11 votes
      1. [11]
        wycy
        Link Parent
        One of those huge differences is that the Senate staffers were on Biden's payroll, and the Kavanaugh friends (Republicans and Democrats) did it without being paid.

        One of those huge differences is that the Senate staffers were on Biden's payroll, and the Kavanaugh friends (Republicans and Democrats) did it without being paid.

        8 votes
        1. [8]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [7]
            wycy
            Link Parent
            I'm baffled as to why you'd think these people would talk badly about a former employer--especially the ones who are still in politics as noted in the article, but any of them really--in such a...

            I'm baffled as to why you'd think these people would talk badly about a former employer--especially the ones who are still in politics as noted in the article, but any of them really--in such a public way. I hated my former employer, but as someone who's got many career years left, I'm keeping my damn mouth shut. This would be doubly true if I were in politics.

            Search all the records for Reade's name. If it's not there, put the issue to bed. "Here's a list of 65 people Kavanaugh didn't try to rape" is equally unconvincing to me as "Here's 74 former staffers Biden didn't try to rape"

            6 votes
            1. BuckeyeSundae
              Link Parent
              I have a background as a political organizer, so grain of salt, etc. One thing you figure out quite quickly is that everybody has a reputation in politics. Your reputation precedes you, and is...
              • Exemplary

              I have a background as a political organizer, so grain of salt, etc.

              One thing you figure out quite quickly is that everybody has a reputation in politics. Your reputation precedes you, and is usually talked about in opaque terms and sometimes, when drunk, directly. I drank enough with enough colleagues to know well in advance, for example, that nobody wants to work for Amy Klobuchar (who has a reputation for acerbic tirades), that every wonk--in theory--would love to work for Elizabeth Warren, and that Cory Booker really is a bubbly happy dude (though he gets awkwardly competitive about weird shit).

              But the one thing that was always true, even the story a year ago about Biden being too touchy was going viral, is that everyone has ever had a chance to meet and work with the guy loves talking to and working with Joe Biden. That struck me. Because no one had such nice things to say even about Obama, who some drunkenly described as "a little cold" and "brilliant and scholarly, with all that comes with." Or Hillary, who got reviews such as "incredible listener" and "remembers that one time we met 14 years ago in a little farm in Iowa" and "expects half as much work from her team as she puts in herself, which is still going to kill you to try and match."

              So yeah, it is still going to require digging into the evidence to get a better idea of what the likelihood of Reade's accusation really is, but there's no false equivalence here. Kavanaugh responded to the allegations against him by launching into partisan tirades while attempting to rise as an "unbiased judge." Biden responded to the allegations by denying them and insisting that they have a chance to be vigorously investigated. He hasn't launched into character attacks (of which there is ample material); he hasn't gone out of his way to ridicule her like Trump has to his many (23 I believe) accusers. He has reacted with restraint and calm.

              It is a fair point that former employees still in politics have an incentive to say nice things, but my experience in the dark bowels of political organizing leads me to be a little more generous when giving them the benefit of the doubt. It jives with what I've heard from many others, years before these allegations came up.

              6 votes
            2. [5]
              dubteedub
              Link Parent
              The fact is that they could have kept their mouth shut or not responded. Instead they felt that this was such an absurd claim that they needed to not only speak out, but many of them are on the...

              I'm baffled as to why you'd think these people would talk badly about a former employer--especially the ones who are still in politics as noted in the article, but any of them really--in such a public way. I hated my former employer, but as someone who's got many career years left, I'm keeping my damn mouth shut. This would be doubly true if I were in politics.

              The fact is that they could have kept their mouth shut or not responded. Instead they felt that this was such an absurd claim that they needed to not only speak out, but many of them are on the record with their names to dispute the allegations.

              Search all the records for Reade's name.

              What records are you talking about?

              4 votes
              1. [4]
                wycy
                Link Parent
                Fair point. Going on the record is still a good career move, but still a fair point. Being older, these people might have less to gain from it career-wise. Senate and University of Delaware records.

                Instead they felt that this was such an absurd claim that they needed to not only speak out, but many of them are on the record with their names to dispute the allegations.

                Fair point. Going on the record is still a good career move, but still a fair point. Being older, these people might have less to gain from it career-wise.

                What records are you talking about?

                Senate and University of Delaware records.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  dubteedub
                  Link Parent
                  Biden said he was happy to release all Senate records and then Tara changed her story once again and claimed that the complaint she made did not actually state anything about sexual assault. The U...

                  Senate and University of Delaware records.

                  Biden said he was happy to release all Senate records and then Tara changed her story once again and claimed that the complaint she made did not actually state anything about sexual assault.

                  The U of D records are Biden's personal papers and do not contain any personnel files, those are at the national archives. Releasing the U of D papers would purely be a fishing expedition to find things to smear Biden with similar to the Hillary / DNC email leaks.

                  Biden said in a statement on Friday morning that his papers at the university do not contain personnel files. But, he said, personnel files from the Senate during those days would be kept at the National Archives.

                  "I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there," Biden said.

                  Later on Friday afternoon, Biden sent a letter to the secretary of the Senate asking that office to work with the National Archives to locate and release any complaint from Reade as well as "any and all other documents in the records that relate to the allegation." The National Archives said in an email to CNN that any personnel complaints from 1993 would have "remained under the control of the Senate."

                  "I am writing to request your assistance in determining whether 27 years ago a staff member in my United States Senate office filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment," Biden wrote. "According to public reports, the staff member, Ms. Tara Reade, has stated that in 1993 she filed such a complaint with the office responsible for enforcing Senate employees' rights in the workplace."

                  Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who says the former vice president sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, is disputing a story that quotes her regarding the report she allegedly filed with a congressional personnel office. On Saturday afternoon, the Associated Press published a piece claiming that Reade said the report she filed does not explicitly accuse the then-senator of sexual assault or harassment. “I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,” Reade said in an interview Friday. “I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.” The piece quotes Reade as saying that she knows she “didn’t use sexual harassment,” but rather the word uncomfortable and that she feared “retaliation.”

                  7 votes
                  1. [2]
                    wycy
                    Link Parent
                    National Archives says it does not have personnel records from that office. The papers should not be released publicly, but they should be searched by a committee that includes, e.g., journalists...

                    The U of D records are Biden's personal papers and do not contain any personnel files, those are at the national archives.

                    National Archives says it does not have personnel records from that office.

                    Releasing the U of D papers would purely be a fishing expedition to find things to smear Biden with similar to the Hillary / DNC email leaks.

                    The papers should not be released publicly, but they should be searched by a committee that includes, e.g., journalists from NYT.

                    1 vote
                    1. dubteedub
                      Link Parent
                      It looks like it is a bit more complicated than that. From your article: So now it sounds like the records of a complaint may possibly be located at GSA. It also sounds like the Senate (which is...

                      National Archives says it does not have personnel records from that office.

                      It looks like it is a bit more complicated than that. From your article:

                      A staffer at the Senate Historical Office told Insider that in the '90s, a complaint like the one Reade described would most likely have been filed with the Senate's Fair Employment Practices Office, which was established to handle labor issues. In 1995, with the passage of the Congressional Accountability Act, the Fair Employment Practices Office became the Office of Compliance, and it is now called the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights.

                      The Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives maintains the historical records of Congress. But a spokesperson for the National Archives told Insider the center did not have records from the Office of Fair Employment Practices.

                      The Senate Historical Office staffer said the Fair Employment Practices records are governed by a Senate resolution mandating that "records containing personal privacy, information closed by statute, and records of executive nomination are closed for 50 years." The staffer couldn't say for sure whether every complaint the office received would have been permanently archived or, if so, where they would be now. The Standing Rules of the Senate call for all "noncurrent records of the Senate" to be transferred to the General Services Administration "for preservation" at the end of each Congress.

                      A spokesperson for the office of the secretary of the Senate could not immediately say where historical Fair Employment Practices records might be or when, if ever, they may become public. The General Services Administration did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

                      So now it sounds like the records of a complaint may possibly be located at GSA.

                      It also sounds like the Senate (which is controlled by the GOP) are currently stonewalling any release of records citing an old resolution.

                      The papers should not be released publicly, but they should be searched by a committee that includes, e.g., journalists from NYT.

                      It still does not seem like any personnel records are held at U of D and it would purely be a fishing exercise. Given how morons took innocuous emails in the DNC leaks to construe a conversation about pizza until a demonic child cannibalism and sex cult, I am not inclined to support any rampant digging through Biden's old Senate papers for a complaint that no one thinks would be located there.

                      4 votes
        2. [3]
          streblo
          Link Parent
          According to you I'm a paid spokesperson for McDonald's because I flipped burgers there twenty years ago?

          According to you I'm a paid spokesperson for McDonald's because I flipped burgers there twenty years ago?

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            wycy
            Link Parent
            If you were the secretary for the McDonalds CEO, and that CEO was about to become President of the United States, I might have reason to doubt your fawning praise of said CEO.

            If you were the secretary for the McDonalds CEO, and that CEO was about to become President of the United States, I might have reason to doubt your fawning praise of said CEO.

            1. streblo
              Link Parent
              This isn't fawning praise -- someone reached out to them and asked them a question. No one is lining up to take a bullet for the bossman from 30 years ago. If what you're assuming is happening is...

              This isn't fawning praise -- someone reached out to them and asked them a question. No one is lining up to take a bullet for the bossman from 30 years ago.

              If what you're assuming is happening is true -- I would expect a wildly different picture from the people who no longer work in politics -- somebody who has a desk job at WidgetFactory has little to gain or lose by weighing in.

              6 votes
    2. [5]
      The_Fad
      Link Parent
      Anything to protect the party! Or at least that how it seems to have been going for the past 20 years. Tangentially: I'm surprised there hasn't been a larger voice among independents pushing for...

      Anything to protect the party! Or at least that how it seems to have been going for the past 20 years.

      Tangentially: I'm surprised there hasn't been a larger voice among independents pushing for the destruction of the two party system during all of this. I mean 2015-to-now is the perfect real life example of why it's horseshit and I haven't heard dick about it since the primaries in '16.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        How do you expect this to happen? The only way to change the system would be by winning political power. It has been shown time and again that whenever there is a broad push for a third party...

        I'm surprised there hasn't been a larger voice among independents pushing for the destruction of the two party system during all of this.

        How do you expect this to happen? The only way to change the system would be by winning political power.

        It has been shown time and again that whenever there is a broad push for a third party candidate in the Presidential election, Republicans win and the country suffers. America's modern third parties are nothing but spoilers to ensure continued far-right hegemony, just look at Jill Stein in 2016 and Ralph Nader in 2000 as prime examples.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          The_Fad
          Link Parent
          I wasn't really commenting on how it would happen, because I don't know (because I'm not a policy expert or political scientist) and am not particularly interested in the how so much as the end...

          I wasn't really commenting on how it would happen, because I don't know (because I'm not a policy expert or political scientist) and am not particularly interested in the how so much as the end result. Some people like the two party system, some don't. If you support it, cool, that's no skin off my nose.

          1. dubteedub
            Link Parent
            I am not a fan of the two-party system and would prefer a ranked choice voting with a proportional representation system. I just do not see how we could even begin to get there without Democrats...

            I am not a fan of the two-party system and would prefer a ranked choice voting with a proportional representation system. I just do not see how we could even begin to get there without Democrats in power to them push for it as they seem to at least be willing to discuss means of electoral reform and expanding voter franchise.

            3 votes
      2. Flashynuff
        Link Parent
        There has been, but it's not really politically feasible without taking power first. Election laws are written in ways that make it almost impossible for third parties to have a chance at winning...

        There has been, but it's not really politically feasible without taking power first. Election laws are written in ways that make it almost impossible for third parties to have a chance at winning anything without far exceeding the requirements for Democrats or Republicans.

        For example, in Michigan, a candidate for US senate need only collect 15,000 signatures if they have the support of a major party. If they are running as an independent, they must collect 30,000. To count as a major party, they first need their principal candidate to receive at least 5 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates at the most recent general election. That is not an easy task for a new third party to accomplish if they don't also have a slate of candidates running everywhere, which is difficult to achieve when the signature requirements are doubled.

        3 votes
  3. [4]
    pvik
    Link
    Uh.. what? This whole article seems like it is trying to justify Biden's actions, arguing from the point: Yes, Joe Biden touches and hug people without permission, but that's OK, cause most people...

    However, staffers agree it was not in Biden’s nature to gauge social signals about whether someone wanted to be hugged or touched. Many said they learned that he might do so without warning, though most saw it as an endearing quality that wasn’t sexual in nature.

    Uh.. what? This whole article seems like it is trying to justify Biden's actions, arguing from the point: Yes, Joe Biden touches and hug people without permission, but that's OK, cause most people find it endearing and so should you!

    Already not having much evidence about this whole situation with Tara Reade, reading these kinds of articles only pushes Biden lower in my opinion.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. SantalBlush
        Link Parent
        You missed the point. The hypocrisy is in saying his unwanted touching, like a "hands on the shoulders type deal," is an endearing quality that wasn't sexual in nature. You're creating a fake...

        You missed the point. The hypocrisy is in saying his unwanted touching, like a "hands on the shoulders type deal," is an endearing quality that wasn't sexual in nature.

        You're creating a fake binary here. If I saw a man in my workplace acting in a way that Biden has, I would take it to HR. My partner has had men give her unwanted shoulder rubs at work. There is nothing "endearing" about it, and I don't care whether they have "blindspots" about how their interactions with women could make them uncomfortable. These aren't innocent children who lack a basic understanding of boundaries, they are grown-ass men.

        If you believe that Biden is innocent of what Reade alleges, or you feel that we still must vote for him for the greater good, that is valid. But please do not downplay what he has done, on video, in front of everyone.

        13 votes
    2. [2]
      vegai
      Link Parent
      You'll obviously still vote for him, assuming you're american, though?

      You'll obviously still vote for him, assuming you're american, though?

      5 votes
      1. pvik
        Link Parent
        Not an American, but if I was, I would. Biden's policies doesn't mesh with mine, but at this point Trump is a cartoon villain in my eye, His supporter's think he is playing 3-D chess, but as...

        Not an American, but if I was, I would.

        Biden's policies doesn't mesh with mine, but at this point Trump is a cartoon villain in my eye, His supporter's think he is playing 3-D chess, but as someone recently said, he is mostly just eating the pieces.

        5 votes