According to a report by Breitbart, Joe Biden’s campaign drastically increased the amount of money paid to a public relations firm while one of their partners was considering to provide legal assistance to Tara Reade with their #MeToo advocacy group after she accused Biden of sexual misconduct.
Reade has recently come forward with the details of the alleged incident where she was pushed against the wall and sexually assaulted by Joe Biden in his office while he was a senator.
Reade had initially come forward to reveal the traumatizing experience in April of 2019, but the story was not given the attention of the national media, possibly due to Reade’s past praise of Russia’s Putin.
According to the numbers reported by the Federal Election Commission, Biden’s campaign paid the public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker $806,000 for January and February that is allegedly meant to facilitate fundraising by direct mail.
Critics have noted that SKDKnickerbocker partner Hilary Rosen is the founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, an advocacy group that “helps workers connect with lawyers and bring cases of workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation — regardless of industry, rank or role.”.
The advocacy group was asked by Reade in January to consider assisting her publicize her claims against the the former vice president and now frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, to to help protect her from the anticipated harassment and possible legal challenges that would follow.
The initial report from Reade was that the meeting was successful, partially due to her being able to verify through a friend that Reade told her about the assault in the days following the incident. Reade was reportedly optimistic about the advocacy group providing assistance.
According to Reade, the advocacy group turned down her application for assistance citing that it would be a violation of campaign laws because Joe Biden was running for president.
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Celta Mitchell, a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP, said that if an advocacy group refuses to take a case because the accused is a political candidate it is “more problematic, as they appear to be making a decision to protect a prominent political candidate,”.
Breitbart reported on the uptick in finances paid to the public relations firm by the Biden campaign.
At the beginning of January, the campaign paid the public relations firm more than $218,000 for its direct mail fundraising services. Normally, such a large payment would not have raised much attention. After all, one of SKDKnickerbocker’s managing directors, Anita Dunn, was a top adviser on the Biden campaign.
It does stand out, however, if only for the sheer disparity in payments. In December, the firm was paid only $7,345 for its direct mail services. One month later, the campaign upped that sum by 30 times, shelling out $218,693 for SKDKnickerbocker’s help with direct mail.
The payments did not stop there. At the end of January, Biden’s campaign paid the firm another $329,000 for its services, in three separate installments. This was followed up by futher payment for more than $257,000 at the end of February.
Overall, between January 1 and February 29, Biden’s campaign paid SKDKnickerbocker more than $806,000. In comparison, between June and December 2019, the firm was paid a little over $75,000. The reason for increases remain unclear.
The connection between the two entities and the Biden campaign comes as Reade is leveling a new sexual assault allegation against the former vice president. Earlier this week, Reade accused Biden of pushing her up against a wall, kissing her, and digitally penetrating her sometime in 1993, while she was in his employ.
Reade did not mention that alleged incident when coming forward last April. It is uncertain if she attempted to broach the new allegations with Time’s Up when first making contact with the group.
There is expected increase to spending as the campaign moves closer to election day, but the Biden campaign gave the public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker $731,000 more in January than all of the past six months of 2019, while a major partner was discussing helping one of his alleged victims of sexual assault.
The timing alone is sure to attract the attention of Biden’s critics, regardless of whether the money influenced the advocacy group’s decision not to help Tara Reade.