The first debate in the Massachusetts Senate race is this Thursday, September 20, hosted by the local CBS affiliate.

The issue of Elizabeth Warren’s false claim to be Native American likely will come up. But I doubt the moderators will get to the crux of the matter, and likely they will ask puff questions allowing Warren to pontificate about her supposed family lore, and to portray questions as an attack on her family.

But the issue of Warren’s ethnic fraud, unintentionally proven by The Boston Globe this weekend, is very serious and more than just about “fairness” or “rigging the system.”

There is a standard and long-standing definition of Native American for employment reporting.  That definition, as currently used by Harvard and presumably used by Harvard during all or most of Warren’s employment, requires a representation of actual Native American ancestry and cultural identificaion either through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

This is the same definition used by the EEOC.

Warren never has had any proof to demonstrate actual origins in the original peoples of North America.  It is an objective test.  Family lore is not proof of actual origin.

But equally or even more important, Warren never even pretended to meet the second and necessary part of the test, identification through affiliation with a tribe or community recognition.

Warren does not claim and never has claimed tribal membership, or involvment with any Native American community. Warren never sought tribal membership, never participated in Native American groups on or off campus. Warren never even participated in Native American Bar Associations or legal issues.

We do not know what the Harvard and federal forms filled out by Warren said at the time she signed them, because neither Warren nor Harvard will release the records  of what Warren signed and what Harvard filed with the federal government based on Warren’s representations.

(I have filed FOIA requests for documents regardings Harvard’s filings, but have received objections from DOL and EEOC which likely will take months to fight and will not be resolved prior to the election.)

But we have every reason to believe that the definition now on Harvard’s forms was on the forms when Warren signed them, and if that is the case, then Warren misrpresented herself to Harvard and participated in having Harvard make false federal filings.

This is no joking matter.

As I posted back on May 31, if Elizabeth Warren represented herself to be Native American in or for the purpose of federal filings, Warren may have commited a crime, It’s Elizabeth Warren’s and Harvard’s federal filings, stupid:

Making a false federal filing potentially was a crime. 18 U.S. Code § 1001 as it existed prior to 1996 revisions provided:

“Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

The statute since 1996 has provided:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully–

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.

Analysis of the statute as it existed in 1994 is here.

I’m not prepared to say Warren or Harvard violated the law. Not enough is known. But the federal criminal statute points to the importance of accuracy in federal filings.

Elizabeth Warren needs to be asked, and made to answer, whether the current definition Harvard uses for self-reporting as Native American was on the forms she signed, and if so, how many times she signed such forms.

Warren also needs to be asked on stage to publicly authorize and direct Harvard to release all of the forms she signed regarding her Native American status.

The people of Massachusetts and the rest of the country need to know if the Democratic nominee for Senate in Massachusetts made, or assisted in the making of, false federal filings.

 
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