A darned good question, as I wrote earlier, and not just in the context of Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden. Washington Post reporter and columnist Karen Tumulty wrote within minutes of Biden’s Morning Joe interview that his explanation for keeping his archives off-limits didn’t “adequately address the “why”” of his refusal, specifically to to resolve this standoff. Even if the records don’t contain Reade’s formal complaint, Tumulty argues, they may contain other information pertinent to her allegation:

But that makes one thing all the more perplexing: the way Biden dodged co-host Mika Brzezinski’s repeated questions about the records of his Senate years that are under seal at the University of Delaware. Why, she asked him again and again, does he not open those archives to scrutiny?

Biden didn’t adequately address the “why.” He simply kept repeating that those files do not contain personnel records. We are expected to take his word for that. There is a good chance that Biden is telling the truth. But even if he is, those boxes of material might hold many other items that could be relevant: memos from staff members that mention Reade or her allegation, schedules that convey a sense of how much contact he had with Reade. The materials might include documents that speak to the general culture in the office. There might be … Well, we just don’t know what might be there, because Biden won’t let anyone see them.

Well, it’s not that he won’t let “anyone” see them. Business Insider reported last night that Biden’s campaign accessed the records and did a significant search through them, perhaps as recently as a few weeks ago. That’s behind a paywall, but Fox News picked up the report this morning:

Joe’s Biden’s campaign dispatched operatives to the University of Delaware’s library in the past year to rifle through his secretive Senate records there, Business Insider reported Thursday — raising the possibility they accessed documents related to Tara Reade’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her when she worked for him in 1993. …

Biden campaign officials “rifled through” the documents on “at least one occasion,” Business Insider reported, citing a statement from University spokeswoman Andrea Boyle Tippett. The campaign’s visit to the library came some point after Biden announced his presidential campaign in April 2019 — but before “mid-March” 2020, when the library closed due to the coronavirus. No one from the Biden team has visited since the closure, Tippett claimed.

Bear in mind that Reade and seven other women went public with sexual-harassment claims in April 2019, immediately after Biden’s entry into the race. That certainly might have been the impetus for a records search — or perhaps a record purge — even before Reade’s allegation got more specific and serious. This review, at the very least, makes Biden’s insistence that no one can access the University of Delaware archives for some structural reason a clear and obvious lie.

By the way, Biden was also at the very least wrong about where to find a complaint like Reade’s. Not only does the Office of Fair Employment Practices not retain their records in the National Archive, Business Insider’s Nicole Einbinder reports, the OFEP process at that time was so cumbersome that a complaint from Reade might never have made it into their records in the first place. We won’t know that until, er … sometime in 2043:

Reade has other reasons to look into Biden’s files, Einbinder points out:

For that reason, Biden’s refusal to open the records calls into serious question his denial of any possibility that the files contain no information relating to Reade. Tumulty concludes that “Biden’s intransigence” on this point is becoming “untenable”:

Biden’s intransigence on the question of his Senate records is becoming increasingly untenable. He deserves the presumption of innocence. His archive may indeed include nothing that is relevant. But the best way to remove a shadow of doubt is to open a window and let the light in.

It should be untenable in the course of a political campaign anyway, as I argued earlier. Democrats have gone to court to seize Donald Trump’s private business and financial records, specifically and explicitly as “campaign fodder,” arguing that American voters have a right to see them. These records relate to Biden’s work in public office, for which American voters paid and provided Biden with authority to conduct. Refusing to make those records public while demanding Trump’s private records is the worst kind of hypocrisy — screaming about transparency while keeping government operation secret.

Kudos to Tumulty and the Washington Post for raising the acute issue with the archives, but let’s hope they pick up on this larger hypocrisy as well.

Update: Speaking of hypocrisy, this is a solid bulls-eye for Dana Perino:

I’ll try to grab the video of this, but the Trumps might be ahead of me on this one…