Born in June 1949 and raised in Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren earned a B.S. from the University of Houston in 1970 and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 1976. She subsequently taught law at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, the University of Michigan, and Rutgers. Then, in 1992 she began a two-decade stint as a professor at Harvard Law School.
In 1984, Warren, claiming to be partially of Cherokee heritage, contributed five recipes to a cookbook titled Pow Wow Chow, which was edited by her cousin and was, according to its introduction, a compilation of “special recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families.” It was later learned, however, that Warren had plagiarized at least three of her five recipes. Two of those three originated at Le Pavilion, an exclusive French restaurant in Manhattan, and, according to Breitbart.com, “had appeared in an article written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News.” Warren copied both of the recipes word-for-word. The third plagiarized recipe, “Herbed Tomatoes,” was apparently lifted from a 1959 piece in Better Homes and Gardens. For further details about Warren’s plagiarism, click here.
In April 1986, when Warren was a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, she filled out a handwritten registration form with the Texas State Bar in which she identified her race as “American Indian.” This fact would not be reported by any media outlet until February 2019.
From 1986 to 1995, Warren—without specifying her heritage—listed herself as a minority professor in the Association of American Law Schools Directory. A 1996 article in the Harvard Crimson quoted Harvard Law spokesman Michael Chmura identifying Warren as “Native American.” Two years later, the paper dubbed Warren “the first woman with a minority background to be tenured” at the law school. According to historian Victor Davis Hanson, Warren “dropped her Native American claims as soon as she at last received tenure and found her … con suddenly superfluous—to the apparent unconcern of her similarly cynical but now mum employer, Harvard.”
In addition to her professorial pursuits, Warren also has been a member of the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, which focuses on “expanding access to banking services” and “promot[ing] asset accumulation” for “underserved populations.” Moreover, she has served as vice president of the American Law Institute and as the chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission.
In 2003 Warren and her daughter, Amelia Tyagi — who would later become the founder and chair of the progressive think tank Demos — co-wrote a book titled The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke. The authors contend that because of the high fixed costs that modern-day Americans face, two-income families today are generally less financially stable than were single-income families in the 1970s. Warren and Tyagi portray a financial system where “the game is stacked against” ordinary Americans who seek “to provide a decent life for their children.” In the book’s Introduction, Warren praises leftist organizations like the Center for American Progress, Demos, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, and the New America Foundation for having helped raise people’s consciousness about “issues related to families’ economic stability.” She also notes, proudly, that her book has been quoted by such Democrat luminaries as Howard Dean, John Edwards, Richard Gephardt, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry.
On March 19, 2004, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, Warren spoke at a symposium entitled “Critical Race Theory: The Next Frontier,” alongside a number of academics who, according to FreeBeacon.com, “have advocated for corporate and government reparations for African-Americans, criticized the concept of U.S. citizenship, and accused the United States of operating under a system of ‘apartheid.'” Founded by the late Derrick Bell, critical race theory is an academic discipline which maintains that society is divided along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines.
Warren subsequently published an article in connection with that symposium, in the Fall 2004 issue of Washington and Lee Law Review. Entitled “The Economics of Race: When Making it to the Middle Is Not Enough,” Warren’s piece stated:
“A growing body of work examines how black families are having much greater difficulty accumulating wealth and how tax codes or other seemingly neutral statutes systematically disadvantage black families…. Hispanic and black homeowners face sharply increased risks of filing for bankruptcy as compared to their white counterparts. These data reinforce the view that middle class Hispanic and blacks are far more vulnerable to the financial difficulties facing every family.”
In 2006 Warren and her daughter co-authored a second book, titled All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan, wherein they identified as a myth the idea that “you can make big money buying houses and flipping [reselling] them quickly.” But as National Review Online (NRO) has chronicled, Warren herself had already bought and sold several properties in her native Oklahoma for substantial profit. Specifically:
Also in All Your Worth, Warren counseled against borrowers taking out home equity lines of credit. “Whether you are borrowing to pay down your credit card debt, play the stock market, or travel to Tahiti,” she wrote, “borrowing against your home is still borrowing–period. It is not saving, it is not smart, it is not savvy. A second mortgage or a home equity line of credit is plain old Steal-from-Tomorrow debt.”
In 2007, Warren wrote a piece in the Harvard Law and Policy Review proposing the creation of a federally funded “Service Pays” program in which the government would “increase the amount students can borrow” for college loans, and would then “forgive students one year of college expenses for each year the student worked in public service after college.” This, Warren explained, would enable “typical students” to “begin adult life debt-free at twenty-six with a college diploma and four years of work experience.” Such an arrangement, she added, should also be extended to students who failed to graduate from college.
Warren envisioned Service Pays as “a reformed Peace Corps that would place young people with aid and development organizations around the world,” to assist with such tasks as “rebuilding after natural disasters”; “teaching English”; “improving water usage”; teaching math and science in “urban and rural schools with a substantial minority or lower-income student body”; running “after-school tutoring programs”; “clean[ing] up public buildings and parks”; “rebuild[ing] roads and bridges;” “improv[ing] the environment”; and “organiz[ing] communities to reduce crime and develop the local economy.” Added Warren: “Non-profit organizations that want to participate in Service Pays could apply to the program and be considered on the same basis that AmeriCorps currently uses: ‘Direct service activities must address local environmental, educational, public safety,… or other human needs.” Critics of Warren’s proposal observed that it had the potential to be used as a means of assigning young adults to work with leftwing organizations that would indoctrinate them to a particular political viewpoint.
Also in 2007, Warren began to advocate for the creation of a federal agency – modeled on the Consumer Product Safety Commission – to protect the public from “over-priced credit products, risky subprime mortgages, and misleading insurance plans.” She called for greater “regulation” by the government to counter the devious tactics of “lenders [who] have deliberately built tricks and traps into some credit products so they can ensnare families in a cycle of high-cost debt.”
In September 2008, as the U.S. faced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Warren penned an article titled “Who Will Bail Out American Families?” In that piece, she recommended that just as the federal government had bailed out failing U.S. banks, the AIG insurance company, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, it should likewise bail out American families facing bankruptcy. Depicting such people as innocent victims who had been tricked by unscrupulous bankers, Warren wrote: “They are casualties of a financial system that saw them not as customers, but as prey … a financial system that has been devastated by mindless deregulation and unchecked greed.”
In November 2008, Senator Harry Reid appointed Warren to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel that Congress had created to monitor the effectiveness of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which was designed to bail out failing U.S. financial institutions; Warren’s duty was to report regularly to Congress on whether TARP funds were being used “in the best interest of the American people.”
In 2009 Warren co-wrote an article titled “The Increasing Vulnerability of Older Americans: Evidence From the Bankruptcy Court.” Asserting that “the economic news for seniors is consistently grim,” this piece stated that “age is increasingly associated with financial distress and with seeking protection from creditors through the bankruptcy courts.” According to the authors, since 1991 “Americans age fifty-five or older have experienced the sharpest increase in bankruptcy filings,” and “the rate of bankruptcy filings among those ages sixty-five and older has more than doubled.”
Also in 2009, Warren co-authored an article asserting that some 62.1% of all U.S. bankruptcies were the result of medical expenses that people could not afford – supposedly a 49.6% rise over 2001 bankruptcies due to medical expenses. Emphasizing that few Americans were immune from the possibility of becoming insolvent, the authors noted that “most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations”; moreover, “three quarters had health insurance.” Megan McArdle, the business and economics editor for The Atlantic, subsequently pointed out that this study was statistically flawed, and that no rise in medical-related bankruptcies had in fact occurred.
In 2009 Warren appeared in Michael Moore‘s anti-capitalist film titled Capitalism: A Love Story. In a taped interview, the filmmaker told Warren that “capitalism in and of itself, at least the capitalism we know now, is immoral, it’s not democratic, and worst of all, it doesn’t work…” Warren did not disagree, replying: “But we made up these rules, and the rules are of men, of people. We pick what the rules are. The rules have not been written for ordinary families, for the people who actually do the work. We have to rewrite those rules.” When Moore then blamed the greed of “corporate America” for allegedly having tricked people “into these adjustable rate mortgages [which] they may not be able to pay … back,” Warren said: “Its a big part of what happened, and then just layer in on top of that: ‘Can we sell them more credit cards that are loaded with tricks and traps?’”
In September 2009, Warren worked as a consultant for Travelers Insurance in the Supreme Court case Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Bailey. In that case, Travelers won permanent immunity from all personal-injury lawsuits related to its bankrupt former client, the asbestos-manufacturing Johns Manville Corporation. Records show that Travelers had been aware of the dangers of asbestos for decades, but had misled the public about those dangers. In a Supreme Court brief, Warren criticized the “enterprising plaintiffs’ lawyers” who represented asbestos victims. She received more than $200,000 in legal fees for her services.
Warren was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2009 and 2010.
In March 2010, Warren addressed a conference that also featured billionaire financier George Soros as a guest speaker. In her talk, Warren emphasized the need to shorten and simplify such documents as credit-card, mortgage, and car-loan agreements – so that people could no longer be “tricked and trapped into paying what [they] didn’t bargain for.”
In July 2010, Warren spoke at an East Hampton, New York event on the topic of “Restoring the Integrity of the U.S. Financial Markets.” Fellow panelists included George Soros and Van Jones. That same month, Warren spoke at a Netroots Nation conference on the topic of “Building a Progressive Economic Vision.”
Between 2007 and 2010, Warren’s idea of establishing a federal agency to protect financial-product consumers found considerable support in Congress and culminated in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) being incorporated into a financial regulatory reform bill that was passed in summer 2010. In the summer of that year, Senator Tom Harkin circulated a petition advocating that Warren be named as director of the new CFPB. Warren was likewise endorsed for that position by Congressman Barney Frank, Democrat Senator Al Franken, the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, SEIU president Andrew Stern, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and the activist organization MoveOn.
In July 2010, Warren singled out Rep. Barney Frank as the man who “deserves as much credit as anyone on this planet for keeping this Consumer Protection Financial Bureau [sic] and making it strong.”
On September 17, 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Warren to be his special assistant in charge of organizing and establishing the CFPB; in this role, Warren would also serve as a special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Senate approval was not needed for Warren’s appointment, though it would have been required if Obama had named her to be CFPB’s director; Obama was aware that the Senate was unlikely to have confirmed Warren for that post. Following Warren’s appointment, Republican Congressmen Darrel Issa (CA) and Spencer Bachus (AL) sent a letter to the White House requesting more information about what they called the “unusual arrangement” that was “undermining congressional oversight” over presidential appointments. (Notably, CFPB went on to become a haven for highly-paid federal workers. As of January 2017, some 449 CFPB employees were earning at least $100,000 per year, and 228 were getting more than $200,000 annually.)
On April 6, 2010, Elizabeth Warren and Heather Booth were the special guests at a webinar — co-hosted by Americans For Financial Reform and Americans For Fairness In Lending — which focused on “where things stand in the movement for financial reform, and how everyday citizens can get involved in the fight to rein in the big banks and get the economy back on track.”
On September 14, 2011, Warren announced that she would be running (in 2012) for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat which, at that time, was held by Republican Scott Brown. While campaigning that same month, Warren stated that the government and the public sector play a vital role in wealth creation:
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own—nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces [sic] that the rest of us paid for…. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless—keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
In October 2011, Warren — while enjoying a $429,000 Harvard salary and residing in a $5 million mansion — expressed support for the anti-capitalism rallies which were staged in cities across the United States by Occupy Wall Street and other activist groups. “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” she said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I support what they do.”
Warren was scheduled to appear with two leading members of Democratic Socialists of America — Frances Fox Piven and Barbara Ehrenreich — at an October 12, 2011 “National Teach-In” sponsored by the AFL-CIO. The event focused on “the jobs crisis and student activists’ fight for worker’s rights, equal access to education, fair taxation, and economic and social justice.”
In April 2012, Warren became embroiled in controversy when the Boston Herald reported that during the 1990s, administrators at Harvard Law School had “prominently touted Warren’s Native American background … in an effort to bolster their diversity hiring record in the ’90s as the school came under heavy fire for a faculty that was then predominantly white and male.” When the media subsequently asked Warren’s Senate campaign for proof of the candidate’s tribal heritage, the campaign initially denied that Warren had ever boasted about it. Warren herself suggested that even if she were unable to produce documentation of a such a heritage, her family “lore” backed up her claim. “Being Native American has been part of my story I guess since the day I was born,” said Warren. “These are my family stories, I have lived in a family that has talked about Native American[s] and talked about tribes since I was a little girl.” Speaking to a reporter on a local news station in Boston, Warren cited her the “high cheekbones” of her “pappaw” (grandfather) as further evidence of her Native American lineage. Said Warren soon thereafter: “I listed myself [as a minority] in the [professional law-school] directory [from 1986-1995] in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am.”
On May 1, 2012, it was reported that Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes had discovered that one of Warren’s great-great uncles had made a notation on his own marriage license indicating that his mother (Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford) was a Cherokee. If that notation (which was not part of the official license) was accurate, it would make Warren 1/32 Cherokee. But in mid-May 2012, it was learned that the document bearing the aforementioned notation was merely an application for a marriage license, not the license itself. Further, census records list O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford as “white,” and Warren’s family is not listed in the Cherokee registry.
Notwithstanding the evidence that Warren’s Cherokee heritage claims were false, Warren repeated her claim in A Fighting Chance, a new book that she released in April 2014. In response to this, the aforementioned Twila Barnes wrote in a blog post: “She [Warren] could have used her new book to acknowledge the truth and apologize for her blatant disrespect of minorities, but instead, she’s continued to perpetuate the lie and attempted to portray herself as a victim.”
In that same post, Barnes then cited the following excerpt from Warren’s book: “What really threw me, though, were the constant attacks from the other side. I would almost persuade myself that I was starting to get the hang of full-throttle campaigning and then — bam! Out of left field, the state Republican Party, or the [Scott] Brown campaign, or some blogger would launch a rocket at me.” To that, Barnes wrote:
“Doing the research, finding the facts and sharing the truth about someone is not an attack. If people were launching rockets, it is because Warren gave them a big target. Research was done to determine if she had Cherokee ancestry. She didn’t have any. That is not an opinion. It is a sound conclusion based on a preponderance of evidence found in historical documents. No one had any control over the lies told except Elizabeth Warren. She had control over it when she opened her mouth and told the story. She also had control when she repeatedly defended her story, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If Elizabeth Warren was a victim, she was only a victim of her own arrogance and dishonesty. If she felt hurt and angry over what happened, she has no one to blame but herself. She could have, should have, just told the truth. She chose not to do that. I don’t feel sorry for her.”
In March 2018, Warren was interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd,” where she was asked whether she would consider taking an easily accessible DNA test to address critics who had questioned her purported Native American heritage. But Warren did not answer the question, instead telling a story about how her mother and father had met and married as teenagers over the bitter objections of her father’s family, which opposed the couple’s union because the young woman was part Native American. “That’s the story that my brothers and I all learned from our Mom and our Dad, from our grandparents and all of our aunts and uncles. It’s a part of me, and nobody is going to take that part of me away — not ever,” said Warren. Todd, in response, reiterated his question, to which Warren replied: “I do know. I know who I am. And never used it for anything, never got any benefit from it anywhere.”
In October 2018, Warren shared with the Boston Globe the results of a DNA test conducted upon her by Stanford University researcher Carlos D. Bustamante. In a summary of his findings, Bustamante wrote: “The results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor … in the range of 6-10 generations ago.” This means that Warren’s ancestry is somewhere between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American – i.e., between .09 percent and 1.6 percent Native American. The average European-American, meanwhile, has 0.18 percent Native American DNA.
The Globe noted, moreover, that “because Native American leaders have asked tribal members not to participate in genetic databases,” there is no Native American DNA available for genetic testing. “To make up for the dearth of Native American DNA,” the paper reported, “Bustamante used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American. That’s because scientists believe that the groups Americans refer to as Native American came to this land via the Bering Strait about 12,000 years ago and settled in what’s now America but also migrated further south.”
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr. issued the following statement vis-a-vis Warren’s DNA test results:
“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
On September 5, 2012, Warren spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In a September 24, 2012 interview with Boston’s 96.9 FM radio program Jim and Margery, Warren, who had provided paid legal services for many clients during the preceding decade—including the Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett law firm that paid her $212,000 and listed her as “of counsel” in the 2009 brief they submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of their client, Travelers Insurance—admitted that she has never been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. According to LegalInsurrection.com:
“[T]here are at least two provisions of Massachusetts law Warren may have violated. First, on a regular and continuing basis she used her Cambridge office for the practice of law without being licensed in Massachusetts. Second, in addition to operating an office for the practice of law without being licensed in Massachusetts, Warren actually practiced law in Massachusetts without being licensed.”
In November 2012, Warren was elected to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.
In March 2013 Senator Warren suggested raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $22 per hour: “If we started in 1960, and we said [that] as productivity goes up … then the minimum wage was going to go up the same … if that were the case, the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour.” “What happened to the other $14.75?” she asked. “It sure didn’t go to the worker.”
In addition to a minimum-wage hike, Warren also favored an increase in Social Security benefits to retirees, notwithstanding the fact that with a rapidly rising number of baby boomers retiring, the Social Security program itself was headed inexorably toward fiscal collapse. As a December 2013 Wall Street Journal report explained:
“Undeterred by this undebatable solvency crisis, Sen. Warren wants to increase benefits to all seniors, including billionaires, and to pay for them by increasing taxes on working people and their employers. Her approach requires a $750 billion tax hike over the next 10 years that hits mostly Millennials and Gen Xers, plus another $750 billion tax on the businesses that employ them.
In an April 2014 interview with The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, Warren cited the escalating cost of borrowing money for college as an example of how America has changed in recent times: “That’s what’s fundamentally changed. Look, it’s tough out there. It really is a rigged game, and it’s set up now over and over and over … that the rich get richer and the powerful get more powerful. They’ve got all the advantages of concentrated money and concentrated power.” The key to addressing this problem, said Warren, is to get involved in politics: “All we got on the other side, is we got our voices and we got our votes, and if we get out there and make something out of them, that’s how we make a difference.”
In an October 2014 interview with CNN, Warren was asked whether she felt that her male colleagues in the U.S. Senate sometimes treated her in a disrespectful or sexist manner because she was a woman. She answered curtly, “Yes.” When asked if she could elaborate, Warren said, “Nope. Nope. I’ve said all I’m gonna say.” The interviewer then asked whether the senator found the disparate treatment “surprising.” Warren sighed audibly and then replied: “Not really. I wish it were. But it’s hard to change these big, male-dominated institutions. What I am very happy about is that there are now enough women in the United States Senate to begin to change that place, and I think that’s just powerfully important…. You know, others have said it before me. If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu. And so it is important that we have women in the United States Senate, strong women, and women who are there to help advance an agenda that is important to women.”
In a January 2017 op-ed which she wrote for the Washington Post, Warren said “it is critical that each nominee [for newly elected President Donald Trump’s cabinet] follows basic ethics rules to ensure that they will act for the benefit of all the American people.” Emphasizing that nominees with “complex financial histories” must be “forthcoming and transparent,” she argued that financial disclosures were especially vital because they might “reveal potentially damaging information that may undermine fitness to serve.” A few days later, the Washington Free Beacon reported:
“Warren, meanwhile, continues to skirt congressional ethics laws by failing to include a $1.3 million line of credit against her Cambridge, Massachusetts home on financial disclosure forms. The line of credit was extended to Warren and her husband Bruce Mann in 2007 through financial giant Bank of America. It was first noted by the Boston Herald after Warren failed to included the line of credit as a liability on her 2014 financial disclosure filing. It was also absent from her 2015 filing.
“An aide for Warren, who is worth millions, defended the omission, stating at the time that a home equity line of credit like the one that Warren received from Bank of America doesn’t have the same reporting requirements as a typical home mortgage, which would have to be reported.
“The STOCK Act, which was signed into law in 2012, mandated that all members of Congress disclose details of any mortgages on their personal residences in their annual filings. The legislation, however, does not mention home equity lines of credit, which banks offer as alternatives to a mortgage. The Warren aide said that the senator had yet to borrow on the line of credit, which allowed her to leave it off disclosure forms. The exact terms of Warren’s deal with Bank of America such as her interest rate remain a mystery due to the lack of disclosure.”
Warren has long claimed — falsely and deceptively — that female workers in the United States are paid considerably less than equally qualified men who do the same work, and that the American workplace is thus “rigged against women.” As the Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday, April 5, 2017: “Warren has used Equal Pay Day, which fell on April 4 this year, in years past as an opportunity to speak out on the gender pay gap. Last year she took to the Senate floor to call Equal Pay Day a ‘national day of embarrassment’ and pledged to continue her ‘fight’ until the pay gap was erased. She gave similar statements on Equal Pay Day in 2015, 2014, and 2013, her first year in the Senate.” But as the Beacon further noted in its April 5 report, Warren now “failed to acknowledge Equal Pay Day for the first time in her Senate career after it was reported on Tuesday that women working in her Senate office earned just 71 percent of what was earned by men.”
In April 2018, Warren was one of 12 U.S. senators who sought to punish the Sinclair Broadcast Group – widely perceived as a conservative media company – which (a) consisted of 193 television stations and 614 channels in 89 markets nationwide, and (b) had recently announced plans to acquire the Tribune Media Company’s 42 TV stations in 33 markets, a merger that, if completed, would extend Sinclair’s reach to 72% of all American households. The twelve senators included Warren, Independent Bernie Sanders, and 10 other Democrats: Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Maria Cantwell, Edward Markey, Jeff Merkley, Patty Murray, Tina Smith, Tom Udall, and Ron Wyden.
In a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai, these senators expressed concern over the fact that Sinclair had recently aired an ad showing its various local anchors reading from a corporate script extolling the virtue of “balanced journalism”; stating that “truth is neither politically ‘left or right’”; emphasizing the importance of a “commitment” to reporting that “seek[s] the truth and strive[s] to be fair, balanced and factual”; criticizing “some members of the media” for “us[ing] their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’”; and condemning “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.”
Viewing the Sinclair ad as an implicit defense of President Donald Trump, who had long been under withering attack by media outlets nationwide, the senators wrote in their letter: “We are concerned that Sinclair is engaged in a systematic news distortion operation that seeks to undermine freedom of the press and the robust localism and diversity of viewpoint that is the foundation of our national broadcasting laws.” “We have strong concerns,” they added, “that Sinclair has violated the public interest obligation inherent in holding broadcast licenses. Sinclair may have violated the FCC’s longstanding policy against broadcast licensees deliberately distorting news by staging, slanting, or falsifying information.” The senators also demanded that the FCC put on hold its review of Sinclair’s potential merger with Tribune.
In his response, Pai said he “must respectfully decline” the senators’ request “in light of my commitment to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of the press.” “I understand that you disliked or disagreed with the content of particular broadcasts,” he added, “but I can hardly think of an action more chilling of free speech than the federal government investigating a broadcast station because of disagreement with its news coverage or promotion of that coverage.”
During a question-and-answer session hosted by Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond at the historically black Dillard University in New Orleans, Warren delivered what she called “the hard truth about our criminal justice system: It’s racist … I mean front to back.” In the course of her remarks, the senator cited such things as disproportionate arrests of blacks for petty drug possession; an overburdened public defender system; and state laws that sometimes bar convicted felons from voting in political elections for the rest of their lives.
In an August 2018 television interview on CNN, Warren was asked to comment on the recent death of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa who had been murdered by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. She replied:
“I’m so sorry for the family here, and I know this is hard not only for the family but for the people in her community, the people throughout Iowa. But one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are. Last month, I went down to the border, and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers. I met with those mothers who had been lied to, who didn’t know where their children were, who hadn’t had a chance to talk to their children. And there was no plan for how they would be reunified with their children. I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat. And I don’t think mamas and babies are the place that we should be spending our resources. Separating a mama from a baby does not make this country safer.”
On October 29, 2018, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Senator Warren and Senator Kamala Harris. Said the FACT complaint: “Senators Warren and Harris both sent campaign fundraising emails before the Senate vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Specifically, the campaign emails both stated Senators Warren and Harris’s official role and positions on the ongoing confirmation hearing and then made direct requests for campaign donations with ‘DONATE NOW’ and ‘CONTRIBUTE’ buttons. Senate ethics laws prohibit candidates from using the promise of official action or legislative work in a direct ask for campaign cash.” “This is a clear violation of the Senate Ethics rules which safeguard against the appearance or actuality of elected officials ‘cashing in’ on their official position for political purposes,” said FACT executive director Kendra Arnold.
On December 31, 2018, Warren announced that she planned to run for the office of U.S. President in 2020.
On her presidential campaign website, Warren explicitly announced her desire to “reshape our country and our economy, restore our government, and save our democracy.” To achieve that end, she said “we need to be willing to fight for bold, structural solutions to the problems we face as a nation. That means tackling generations of racial injustice and systemic discrimination head on and building a government that works for everyone.”
On January 24, 2019, Warren’s presidential campaign announced that Warren, if elected, planned to impose a 2 percent wealth tax on the holdings of any Americans with assets worth more than $50 million, and a 3 percent wealth tax on anyone whose assets are worth than $1 billion. Warren herself provided additional details in a series of tweets:
That same day, Warren made the following remarks to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes:
On her presidential campaign website, Warren outlined her positions on a host of major issues, including the following:
Break the school-to-prison pipeline. Schools increasingly rely on police officers to carry out discipline while neglecting services that are critical to the well being of students. At least fourteen million students attend schools with a police officer but without a single counselor, social worker, psychologist, or nurse. It’s no surprise that tens of thousands of students are arrested annually, many for minor infractions. Zero tolerance policies start early — on average 250 preschoolers are suspended or expelled every day — and, even in the youngest years, students of color bear the brunt. In later grades, Black and Brown students are disproportionately arrested in schools, while students with disabilities face an increased risk of disciplinary action.
Invest in diversion programs for substance abuse disorder. People who struggle with addiction should not be incarcerated because of their disease.
Repeal the 1994 crime bill. The 1994 crime bill exacerbated incarceration rates in this country, punishing people more severely for even minor infractions, and limiting discretion in charging and sentencing in our judicial system. That punitive “tough on crime” approach was wrong, it was a mistake, and it needs to be repealed.
Address the legacy of the War on Drugs. For four decades, we’ve subscribed to a “War on Drugs” theory of crime, which has criminalized addiction, ripped apart families — and largely failed to curb drug use. This failure has been particularly harmful for communities of color, and we need a new approach. It starts with legalizing marijuana and erasing past convictions, and then eliminating the remaining disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. And rather than incarcerating individuals with substance abuse disorders, we should expand options that divert them into programs that provide real treatment.
Stop criminalizing homelessness. Housing provides safety and stability, but too many experience homelessness. To make matters worse, many cities have criminalized homelessness by banning behavior associated with it, like sleeping in public or living in vehicles. These laws draw people into the justice system instead of giving them access to the services they need. They disproportionately impact communities of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities, all of whom experience higher rates of homelessness. Rather than treating the homeless like criminals, we should get them with the resources they need to get back on their feet.
Stop criminalizing poverty. A simple misdemeanor like a speeding ticket shouldn’t be enough to send someone to spiraling into poverty or worse — but often the fines and fees levied by our legal system bury low-income people who are unable to pay under court-related debt, with no way out.
End cash bail. Around 60% of the nearly 750,000 people in jail have not been convicted of a crime — and too often, those jails are overcrowded and inhumane. Our justice system forces its citizens to choose either to submit to the charges brought against them or be penalized for wanting to fight those charges. We should allow people to return to their jobs and families while they wait for trial, reserving preventive detention only for those cases that pose a true flight or safety risk.
Law Enforcement Reform. The vast majority of police officers sign up so they can protect their communities. They are part of a profession that works tirelessly and takes risks every day to keep us safe. But we also know that many people of color, including Native Americans, disproportionately experience trauma at the hands of law enforcement, sometimes with life-altering consequences. On average, three people are shot and killed by the police every day, a disproportionate number of them young and Black. Others are arrested and entered into a system that unduly penalizes even minor infractions.
Demand increased civilian oversight. Approximately 150 communities have civilian oversight boards, but that covers only a small percentage of law enforcement agencies in America. To expand local oversight and democratic engagement in policing, I will implement a competitive grant program that provides funding to communities that establish an independent civilian oversight mechanism for their police departments, such as a civilian oversight board or Office of Civilian Complaints.
Establish a federal standard for the use of force. I will direct my administration to develop and apply evidence-based standards for the use of force for federal law enforcement, incorporating proven approaches and strategies like de-escalation, verbal warning requirements, and the use of non-lethal alternatives. At the federal level, I’ll prohibit permissive pursuit policies that often result in collateral damage, like high-speed chases and shooting at moving vehicles. And I’ll work with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that training and technology deployed at the federal level can be implemented at all levels of government, helping to limit the use of force while maintaining safety for officers and the communities they are sworn to protect.
Increase federal funding for law enforcement training. My administration will provide incentives for cities and states that hire a diverse police force and provide tools and resources to ensure that best practices on law enforcement training are available across America, providing local police with what they need to meet federal training requirements, including training on implicit bias and the scientific and psychological roots of discrimination, cultural competency, and engaging individuals with cognitive or other disabilities.
Restrict qualified immunity to hold police officers accountable. When an officer abuses the law, that’s bad for law enforcement, bad for victims, and bad for communities. Without access to justice and accountability for those abuses, we cannot make constitutional due process protections real. But today, police officers who violate someone’s constitutional rights are typically shielded from civil rights lawsuits by qualified immunity…. I support limiting qualified immunity for law enforcement officials who are found to have violated the Constitution, and allowing victims to sue police departments directly for negligently hiring officers despite prior misconduct.
End racially discriminatory policing. Policies like stop-and-frisk and “broken windows” policing have trampled the constitutional rights of countless Americans — particularly those from Black and Brown communities — without any measurable impact on violent crime. I’ll end stop-and-frisk by directing the Justice Department to withhold federal funding from law enforcement agencies that continue to employ it and other similar practices, and I’ll work with Congress to pass legislation to prohibit profiling at all levels of law enforcement.
Separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement.The data are clear. When local law enforcement is mixed with immigration enforcement, immigrants are less likely to report crimes, and public safety suffers. It’s time to stop directing law enforcement officers to do things that undermine their ability to keep communities safe.
Reduce mandatory minimums. The 1994 crime bill’s mandatory minimums and “truth-in-sentencing” provisions that require offenders to serve the vast majority of their sentences have not proven effective. Congress should reduce or eliminate these provisions, giving judges more flexibility in sentencing decisions, with the goal of reducing incarceration to mid-1990s levels.
End the death penalty. Studies show that capital punishment is often applied in a manner biased against people of color and those with a mental illness. I oppose the death penalty. A Warren administration would reverse Attorney General Barr’s decision to move forward with federal executions, and Congress should abolish the death penalty.
Eliminate private prisons.I have called to eliminate private prisons that make millions off the backs of incarcerated people.
Reduce needlessly restrictive parole requirements. Technical parole and probation violations make up a large number of all state prison admissions, sometimes for infractions as minor as a paperwork error. While many rules are made at the state level, the federal government should seek to remove those barriers wherever possible, reduce parole requirements for low-level offenders, and remove the threat of jail time for minor parole violations.
Establish a federal expungement option. Many states provide a certificate of recovery for nonviolent offenders who have served their time and maintained a clean record for a certain number of years. This should be replicated at the federal level.
Raise the age for criminal liability. We know that cognition and decision-making skills continue to develop beyond the teenage years. For that reason, many states have raised the age of adult criminal liability to at least 17, or granted additional discretion to prosecutors when charging offenders between the ages of 16 and 18. The federal government should do the same — raising the age of adult criminal liability to 18, eliminating life-without-parole sentences for minors, and diverting young adult offenders into rehabilitative programs wherever possible.
Guarantee reproductive health coverage as part of all health coverage. All women — no matter where they live, where they’re from, how much money they make, or the color of their skin — are entitled to access the high-quality, evidence-based reproductive health care that is envisioned by Roe. Making that a reality starts with repealing the Hyde Amendment, which blocks abortion coverage for women under federally funded health care programs like Medicaid, the VA, and the Indian Health Service. Congress should also expand culturally- and linguistically-appropriate services and information and include immigrant women in conversations about coverage and access. Congress must also pass the EACH Woman Act, which would also prohibit abortion restrictions on private insurance. And we should ensure that all future health coverage — including Medicare for All — includes contraception and abortion coverage.
At a March 2019 town hall meeting hosted by CNN in Jackson, Mississippi, Warren was asked: “Since the election of Donald Trump, the number of hate crimes has increased and white supremacists have become more emboldened online and in public. What are your plans to unite the country?” She replied: “Oh, good. Thank you for that question. You know, it starts with the fact that we’ve got to recognize the threat posed by white nationalism. White supremacists pose a threat to the United States like any other terrorist group, like ISIS, like Al Qaeda.”
At a “She the People Democratic Presidential Forum” in Texas in May 2019, a young woman who identified herself as a worker in the maternal health field and a “proud member of the Black Lives [Matter] movement” asked Warren what she would do, as president, to address the fact that “for black women, the risk of death from pregnancy-related causes is three to four times higher than for white women, and black women are twice as likely to suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications.” In response, Warren said that how the federal government “treats its mamas and its babies” is “ultimately about our values.” She added: “We have failed our babies exactly in the way you talk about…. And the best studies that I’m seeing put it down to just one thing — prejudice. That doctors and nurses don’t hear African-American women’s medical issues the same way that they hear the same things from white women. And we’ve got to change that and we’ve got to change it fast because people’s lives are at stake.”
In August 2019, Warren made reference to the infamous 2014 altercation in which a white policeman named Darren Wilson had shot and killed a black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Even though compelling ballistic, eyewitness, and forensic evidence subsequently showed that the officer had shot Brown in self-defense, Warren now said: “Five years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson.”
At an August 2019 campaign stop in Iowa, one of Warren’s supporters, attempting to provide the senator with an opportunity to deny the charge that she was a socialist, said to her: “The press right away brands you as a socialist, and I know how [poorly] that goes over in rural areas. With healthcare and all that, they’re going to say, ‘Well, you know, socialism was in my early lifetime associated with communism.’ We know why we grew up with all that kind of thinking, and rural people have long memories.” In response, Warren defended her campaign’s calls for things like “Medicare for All” and student-debt forgiveness programs. Afterward, Warren told reporters: “I didn’t hear it [the supporter’s question] as a concern about the actual policies. I heard it as a concern about the name-calling. And that when you hear the actual policies, folks say, ‘Oh, no, I’m in favor of that.’ I think this is really about the truth wins out, you get out and talk about what you really fight for, what you really stand for. It matters.”
In September 2019, Warren reacted vocally after The New York Times printed an article about a newly published book about Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s 2018 Supreme Court nominee. The Times piece – written by the book’s authors, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly – noted that the book – titled The Education of Brett Kavanaugh – discussed allegations in which a woman named Deborah Ramirez, who had been a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh more than 30 years earlier, claimed that a drunken Kavanaugh had once exposed his penis to her during a campus party. The article further reported that another “former classmate,” Max Stier, claimed to have personally witnessed the incident in question. But the article never mentioned Stier’s deep ties to the Democratic Party – most notably, he had worked for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, while Kavanaugh was a member of special prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s investigative team which looked into Clinton’s misconduct in office. Nor did the article mention that Ramirez had refused to be interviewed about the alleged incident; that all three of the friends whom she had identified as witnesses steadfastly maintained that it never occurred; and that all three friends had stated that not even Ramirez herself could recall the incident. Despite the paucity of evidence against Kavanaugh, Warren, asserting that “these newest revelations are disturbing,” said: “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”
During her 2019 presidential campaign, Warren repeatedly claimed that when she had worked as a young public-school teacher many years earlier, she was fired for no reason other than the fact that she was pregnant. For example, on October 2 she told a town hall audience in Carson City, Nevada, that she had “loved” working as a teacher, but: “By the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant, and the principal did what principals did in those days: Wish me luck and hire someone else for the job.” According to Fox News: “Warren has repeated the story at campaign appearances throughout the summer, each time repeating the ‘principal did what principals did’ line to describe her departure from teaching.”
But that story completely contradicted what she had said in an interview posted to YouTube in 2008, where she recalled:
“I was married at nineteen and then graduated from college actually after I’d married. And my first year post-graduation, I worked — it was in a public school system but I worked with the children with disabilities. And I did that for a year, and then that summer I actually didn’t have the education courses, so I was on an ’emergency certificate,’ it was called. And I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, ‘I don’t think this is going to work out for me.’ And I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ And my husband’s view of it was, stay home. You know, we have children, we’ll have more children. You’ll love this…. So … I went back home to Oklahoma for Christmas and saw a bunch of the boys that I’d been in high-school debate with, and they’d all gone on to law school. And they said, ‘you should go to law school. You’ll love it…. So I took the tests, applied to law school … And I took to law school like a pig takes to mud. I mean, this was fabulous. I loved law school. And then my third year, final year in law school, I got pregnant again, and I didn’t take a job…. [Later] I took the bar, hung out a shingle in northern New Jersey, did real estate closings and little incorporations and lawsuits, all on the civil side, and raised my two babies. And then Rutgers called and said, ‘Somebody didn’t show up to teach a class, would you like to come and teach it, and start Thursday?’ And I said, yeah…. I [eventually] got my first full-time tenure-track teaching job … at the University of Houston.”
Also during her 2019 presidential campaign, Warren was confronted by pro-school-choice activist Sarah Carpenter, who organized a protest of Warren’s November 19 speech in Atlanta and told the candidate: “We are going to have the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private schools.” Warren denied the claim, telling Carpenter: “My children went to public schools.” But as Warren communications director Kristen Orthman later told the Washington Free Beacon: “Elizabeth’s daughter went to public school. Her son [Alex] went to public school until 5th grade.” Starting in 5th grade, Alex Warren attended the Kirby Hall School, a high-tuition college preparatory school is known for its “academically advanced curriculum” and small class sizes.
In October 2019, Warren stated that she was open to the idea of making U.S. aid to Israel contingent upon the Israeli government agreeing to terminate its construction of houses in West Bank settlements. “Right now, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu says he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements, [but] that does not move us in the direction of a two-state solution,” Warren said in response to a question about whether U.S. aid should be tied to Israeli settlement activity. “It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table. Everything is on the table.”
In his 2020 book Profiles in Corruption, author Peter Schweizer notes that Sushil Tyagi, the husband of Warren’s daughter Amelia, heads the movie production company Tricolor Films, which produced The Song of Sparrows, a film directed by Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi. Two of the movie’s more notable investors, says Schweizer, were the social deputy of the State Welfare Organization Of Iran and the Cultural & Artistic Organization Of Tehran, both of which “are funded and controlled by the Islamist Iranian government.” Moreover, Schweizer asserts that The Song of Sparrows has film credits that read like a “who’s who of prominent Iranian government institutions.” For example, there is an expression of thanks to the “Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force,” which is considered a terrorist entity by the U.S. government.
In January 2020, shortly after President Trump had ordered the U.S. military to kill Qasem Soleimani — the longtime leader of the terrorist Quds Force division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — Warren referred to the killing as an “assassination.” “This assassination of Gen. Soleimani is reckless, and it has been part of an escalating series of attacks that the Trump administration has put forward,” she said. In the days that followed, Warren issued some additional statements such as the following:
During a February 2020 town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Warren said: “Immigration does not make our country weaker, immigration makes our country stronger. We need to change our immigration laws. I want to see expanded immigration. I want to see a path to citizenship, not only for DREAMers, but for everyone who is here to stay. Mixed-status families, we should not have. We should keep our families together. I think that’s powerfully important.”
After performing poorly in numerous Democratic primaries, Warren ended her presidential campaign on March 5, 2020.
On June 10, 2020, the Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee voted to pass an amendment that Warren offered to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to rename several U.S. military bases that were named after Confederate generals. Warren described the names of those bases as a “tribute to white supremacy.” Notably, the U.S. Army under former President Barack Obama had described the use of Confederate names as a gesture of “reconciliation, not division.”
For an overview of Warren’s voting record on an array of key issues, click here.
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