Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks to striking Chicago teachers on Oct. 22, 2019.
photo by Dominic Gwinn

Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg are embroiled in a slap fight right now over transparency. Buttigieg wanted Warren to disclose her tax returns and the details on her past legal representation of corporations. Warren requested that Buttigieg fess up about his former work with corporate consulting firm Wolfram & Hart McKinsey. Presumably, all of this matters somehow, and Warren dropped the bomb Sunday that she pocketed $1.9 million in corporate blood money since 1986.

Annie Linskey at the Washington Postclaimed that Warren's compensation "doesn't fit neatly with her current presidential campaign brand as a crusader against corporate interests." Warren isn't a soda pop, but if she were, she's kept her "brand" consistent since 2004, when Buttigieg was in college. She didn't suddenly change her formula like a common New Coke.

Elizabeth Warren vs. Hillary Clinton (2004)

The Post article doesn't mention until the sixth paragraph that Warren earned the $1.9 million over almost 30 years, or an average of sixtyish-thousand dollars a year. Michael Bloomberg makes $2 million every 30 minutes.

While the cases released by Warren's campaign stretch over more than three decades, the figures disclosed Sunday show that nearly all of the money was made from cases filed after she got her job at Harvard in 1995. (Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012.)

It shouldn't strain credulity that Warren commanded a higher rate as a Harvard law professor. Putting this in context, Warren's total compensation at Harvard was $291,876 (yes, she took a pay cut to serve in the Senate). It's reasonable that her private legal work was competitive with her salary as a professor. She also offered some companies her services pro bono.

Although it's not possible for an attorney to specialize in "good guy law," Warren did her best. She made about $80,000 representing the creditors in Enron's bankruptcy case. Here's how the Post put that:

Her work for some of the companies doesn't fit neatly with her current presidential campaign brand as a crusader against corporate interests.

For instance, the documents released Sunday show that Warren made about $80,000 from work she did for creditors in the energy company Enron's bankruptcy[.]

Really? Enron isn't an orphanage or rescue shelter for puppies. You'd want to be on the side of Enron's creditors.

Warren's biggest payday was $212,335 from a 2009 Travelers Insurance case regarding victims of asbestos poisoning. This is old news that emerged during Warren's 2012 campaign. Her Republican opponent Scott Brown ran ads falsely claiming that Warren helped a "big corporation" screw over working people. One of the benefits of having successfully won statewide office a couple times before running for president is that Warren's been vetted and has receipts.

Elizabeth Warren for MA | TV Ad:

Warren's opponents from both parties like to paint her as not just an "elitist" but a fraud. She's a radical anti-capitalist who is also secretly a Republican.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is similarly criticized because she wears clothes with functioning zippers. How can we trust anyone who advocates for working people if they don't spend their nights rummaging through garbage with raccoons. Yet liberals can't try to solve actual problems as if they possess any working knowledge of the world if they never had what conservatives consider a "real" job. They dismiss Ocasio-Cortez as just a "bartender" the same way they derided Barack Obama for working as a community organizer. However, real jobs usually pay real American dollars, and it's not like Warren got rich. It's unclear what Buttigieg hoped to prove with his push for "transparency."

"In order to credibly call out the president's corruption, you've got to be prepared to lead by example on transparency, and that does mean disclosing your tax returns from both public and private-sector work," Buttigieg said at a recent campaign stop.

Donald Trump is a loathsome scumbag. You don't need to produce your long form 1040s to credibly "call him out." The current White House squatter has several outstanding charges of sexual assault against him. The Democratic candidates need to look in the mirror each morning and repeat, "I am not running against Jeb! Bush. I am not running against Jeb! Bush."

We'll just end here:

No, nobody at this mommyblog has thoughts on that at all.

[The Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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