Several top officials sitting on the University of Delaware board — which is currently keeping Joe Biden's Senate records secret despite previously promising to release them — have close personal and financial ties to the former vice president, Fox News reported Thursday.
John Cochran, the chairman of the board and longtime Biden donor, even paid "top dollar" for Biden's house in 1996, reportedly paying $1.2 million despite it not being in great condition.
What's the background?
In 2012, Biden delivered 1,875 boxes of "photographs, documents, videotapes, and files" and 415 gigabytes of electronic records to his alma mater, the University of Delaware. The records spanned his 36-year Senate career. At that time, the university said it planned to make the papers publicly available "two years after Biden's last day in elected public office." That would have been January 2019, but the day before Biden announced his presidential campaign, the board changed the timetable.
The records have still not been released, and that fact is more pertinent now than ever due to recent sexual assault allegations against Biden by former congressional aide, Tara Reade. Reade alleges that Biden assaulted her in 1993, forcibly penetrating her with his fingers after she was asked to bring the then-Delaware senator his gym bag.
Reade claims that she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Senate in 1993. She also says that she told three other staffers more generally about Biden's harassment, though not about the specific assault. Many believe that Biden's Senate records could confirm whether those claims are truthful.
As pressure mounts for Biden to address the allegations, this week, both The Atlantic and the Washington Post joined the calls for Biden to instruct the board to release the records.
What are the details?
The board has come under increased scrutiny since the allegations resurfaced, as well. Now it appears that several members have close ties with the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Shortly after Biden's house was purchased by Cochran for the full asking price, MBNA, a financial services company where Cochran worked, hired Hunter Biden into a lucrative management-prep role.
According to Fox News, "As Hunter cashed the checks, Biden was pushing successfully on the Senate floor for legislation that would make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection — benefiting companies like MBNA."
Several others on the board have a history of donating large sums of money to Biden's political campaigns.
Here's more from the Fox News report:
Terri Kelly, the former president and CEO Of W.L. Gore & Associates, has served on the university's board of trustees since 2014 -- and donated the maximum legal amount to Biden in 2019.
Carol Ammon, who has been on the board since 2013, has given more than $10,000 to Biden's campaign and affiliated PACs, federal election records show.
John Paradee, a lawyer, joined the board in 2018. He has also donated heavily to Biden.
John Carney, the state's governor and another board member, has also donated more than $1,000 to Biden.
Claire DeMatteis served as counsel to Biden. Since 2001, she has given over $16,000 to Democratic PACs, including Biden's, called Unite our States.
Chai Gadde, a CEO, has donated thousands to Biden.
William Lafferty, a partner at a Delaware law firm who serves on the board as well, has also given more than $2,500 to Biden's campaign.
The Biden campaign has denied the allegations, but Biden himself has yet to face a single question on the matter.