The woman who has come forward to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in the early 90s was denied legal assistance from a prominent #MeToo law fund.
The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization set up within the National Women’s Law Center, which is itself a non-profit, initially seemed interested in taking Tara Reade’s case against Biden. But after discussions within the organization, Reade was declined help because Biden was a candidate for federal office, which could jeopardize the organization’s non-profit status, The Intercept reported.
The outlet reported that Reade in January first spoke to NWLC Program Director Ellie Driscoll, who wrote a note that she planned to send to attorneys who may be interested in taking Reade’s case:
She began publicly sharing the harassment she experienced in April 2019 but was attacked … online including by Richard Painter (Univ. of MN law professor who worked in the Obama administration) and journalist Edward-Isaac Dovere for being a Russian operative. There is more to the story of the harassment that she did not feel safe sharing at that time. She is looking for support in sharing her story and guidance on any possible legal action she may be able to take against online harassers.
The Intercept noted that Painter actually served in the Bush administration and ran for Senate in 2018 as a Democrat.
In February, Reade was told Time’s Up couldn’t help her with legal bills or public relations support because of its non-profit status.
“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Women’s Law Center is restricted in how it can spend its funds, including restrictions that pertain to candidates running for election,” NWLC spokeswoman Maria Patrick told The Intercept. “Our decision on whether or not to provide certain types of support to an individual should not be interpreted as our validation or doubt of the truthfulness of the person’s statements. Regardless, our support of workers who come forward regarding workplace sexual harassment remains unwavering.”
The Intercept spoke to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles tax-law professor Ellen Aprill, who said NWLC likely wouldn’t have lost its non-profit status by accepting Reade’s case.
“As a legal matter, if the group is clear regarding the criteria used as to whom it is taking to court, show that these are long-established neutral criteria, and they are being applied to individuals completely independent of their running for office, it would not be a violation of tax law. Groups are allowed to continue to do what they have always done,” she told the outlet.
Asked by The Daily Wire whether the NWLC agreed to provide funds against any of the women who made allegations against President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign, NWLC spokeswoman Gillian Branstetter said “No, we did not.”
For the record, Time’s Up was not established until 2018, but the NWLC was founded in 1972.
It should also be noted that Time’s Up is a client of SKDKnickerbocker, a public relations firm “whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign,” The Intercept reported.
Reade’s allegations do raise many questions about the veracity of her claims. Most prominently, why did she wait so long to tell her story? Biden was running for president in 2008 and became Barack Obama’s running mate, yet she said nothing then or while he was vice president for eight years.
As The Daily Wire reported, Reade initially supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and then Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Reade began speaking to Time’s Up as the presidential primary was heating up.
Reade first made her allegations public last year, but was blasted some prominent people for her claims, as mentioned above.
Biden is one of the most high-profile supporters of the “believe all women” campaign, though he has not said anything publicly about Reade’s allegations. It falls in line with the campaign’s usual tactics, which stop “believing” women who accuse Democrat politicians of sexual assault and harassment.