Joe Biden retired from the Senate a decade ago, but his papers from that time are still not available to the public. They won’t be opened until at least the end of 2019.
The former vice president’s long history of public service is coming under increased attention as he gets ready for a presidential run. That announcement could come as soon as this week.
Biden donated his senatorial papers, which cover the period 1973 to 2009, to the University of Delaware in 2011. More than 1,850 boxes of archival records arrived at the school in June 2012.
“The collection, which also includes extensive electronic records, will … remain closed during processing for a period no sooner than two years after the donor retires from any public office,” according to the school’s website.
L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, the curator for the Biden papers, clarified that even though it has now been more than two years since Biden retired from public service, the papers won’t be available until at least Dec. 31, 2019.
“The Biden senatorial papers are indeed still closed, pending completion of processing (still underway) and as per our agreement with the donor, which is that the papers would remain closed until the later date of 12/31/2019 or two years after the donor retires [from] public service,” she told HuffPost.
Johnson Melvin added that if the processing takes more time, the papers may remain closed even after Dec. 31.
Biden looms large over the 2020 presidential race. He’s already considered a front-runner even though he has yet to declare.
And with that front-runner status has come a fair amount of scrutiny, mostly focusing on his six-plus terms in the Senate. From his opposition to school busing, to questions over his handling of Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas, his support for bills that lengthened criminal sentences and his views on abortion and how much control women should have over their bodies, Biden’s history in the Senate has raised questions for some Democrats about whether he’s out of step with where the party is now.
Access to his Senate papers would provide a more detailed look at his three and a half decades in the chamber.
Biden’s spokesman didn’t return a request for comment on whether the former vice president believes his records should be made available sooner.