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It’s Elizabeth Warren’s and Harvard’s federal filings, stupid

It’s Elizabeth Warren’s and Harvard’s federal filings, stupid

Elizabeth Warren has played hard to get on the issue of her supposed Cherokee ancestry.

Warren only admits to information after someone has the documents to prove her story wrong, and then her story changes.  She originally denied having any idea why Harvard touted her as Native American, and denied using that supposed status professionally.

Yet drip by drip, documents have been uncovered, and Warren drip by drip admits a little more while doing everything to avoid answering questions.

We now know that starting in 1986 Warren filled out forms for a faculty law directory as “Native American” putting her on a relatively short list of “Minority Law Teachers.”  Her explanation of why she did it, to meet others like her, didn’t hold up.

We now know (because Warren finally admitted it last night after The Boston Globe found more documents) that Warren told her prior employer, U. Penn. Law, that she was Native American and that Penn reported it that way for federal filings.

We now know that in its Spring 1993 issue (which would have been prepared substantially before that), during Warren’s 1992-1993 “visiting” year at Harvard, the Harvard Women’s Law Journal listed Warren on a relatively short list of Women of Color in Legal Academia.

We now know (again last night after The Globe found documents) that Warren was listed for the 1992-1993 academic year as Native American in Harvard Law federal filings.

We now know that all these federal filings were false.  There is no evidence that Elizabeth Warren is Native American, and substantial evidence she is not.

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.

In a criminal prosecution, the prosecution would have the burden of proving the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Senate campaign is not a criminal prosecution.  With all we now know, the burden is on Warren and Harvard to come clean, and to demonstrate that they did not make, or participate in the making of, false federal filings.

Warren knows what happened, and so does Harvard.  It’s time for them to stop playing hard to get.

Update:  Michael Patrick Leahy has a good round-up of all the mainstream media outlets finally picking up on Warren’s stunning admission to The Boston Glove.

And, Indian Country Today Media has a new story, Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media.


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Charles Curran | May 31, 2012 at 11:47 am

How long before the ‘Person of Color’ that runs Mass. grants Warren a pardon?

Frank Scarn | May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am

Since the Constitutional oath to “this Constitution”* (Article VI) has little meaning to those required to take it (5 USC s.3331), there’s little chance that the cited statute will be enforced against Harvard, recipient of beaucoup/heap-big federal dollars.

*The Framers intentionally used the specific descriptor “this” in Article VI by which they meant that the oath of affirmation would be to the WRITTEN document appearing before the oath taker. Those who would and have distorted the very words appearing in the document (oh, just guessing here with some random names, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomeyer, Kagan) believe that there invisible parts of the Constitution discernible only by liberal soothsayers.
BTW, that phrase “this Constitution” is found 11 times in the documents signed in September, 1787. Hmmmmmmmmm,

Insufficiently Sensitive | May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

Nice work by Mr. Jacobsen. No one else has tracked so well the evolution of Ms. Warren’s public position on her formerly private snuggle with the racial-preference game in academic hiring. She’s a contender, all right, with a little help from her friends.

Also nice that the Boston Globe has now entered the ranks of real journalists in this issue, however reluctantly. Anyone want to bet they’re not desperately doing opposition research to dig up dirt to spring on Senator Brown?

PrincetonAl | May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

Bernstein nailed it with this post, you may want to add this to your discussion, it is short and sweet juxtaposition of the problem that drives home the point you are making so well:

This story does matter, and it is a matter of justice to (a) get to the truth and (b) understand, if there was a racial spoils hire to be made (e.g., affirmative action, the expression I quote from the Volokh blog) — regardless of the justice of that proposition — who was deprived so Warren could lie her way into the position (if that is indeed what happened) ?

BTW, I think the criminal statute speaks to the overcriminalization of behavior by the Federal government, and just because I’m delighted to see Warren in the crosshairs I’m not going to let it go by without comment that everyone should internalize the lessons of “3 Felonies A Day” and similar efforts.

Now she’s been caught lying…to the point where she’s kinda, sorta had to admit it…

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    “At some point after I was hired by them, I . . . provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ she said in a statement issued by her campaign. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’

    Warren’s statement is her first acknowledgment that she identified herself as Native American to the Ivy League schools. While she has said she identified herself as a minority in a legal directory, she has carefully avoided any suggestion during the last month that she took further actions to promote her purported heritage.

    When the issue first surfaced last month, Warren said she only learned Harvard was claiming her as a minority when she read it in the Boston Herald.
    –Boston Glob

    But, see, she now claims to have forgotten…er…what she remembered so clearly about her “Shazaaaam” moment from the Herald.

      Cassandra Lite in reply to Ragspierre. | May 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Can the 18-minute gap be far behind?

        Ragspierre in reply to Cassandra Lite. | May 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        One thing I’ve seen that is painfully…and I mean actually painful to watch…obvious is that Warren has never learned to think on her feet.

        She NEEDED to be rescued by Patrick, and that was obviously noted by her handlers and the Deemocrat power structure in MA. That whole presser was one of the most beee-zar things I’ve ever seen.

        I also note that Prof. Bill mentioned he had more shoes to drop…

Juba Doobai! | May 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm

To Elizabeth Warren: Go to JAIL. Go directly to jail. Do not pass the voting booth, er, GO. Do not collect a senate seat, er, $200.

Another day, another road built by all of us not being abused by Warren’s campaign but merely used to allow all of us who work for a living to make a living.

Her memory concerning the details of her Indian ancestry claims might be vague due to high sugar levels brought about by drinking large sweet beverages. A variation of the “Twinkie” defense, if you will.

Warren could claim she did not “knowingly” make a false statement to Penn or Harvard about her imaginary Native American heritage because she believed her Aunt Bee’s stories about her Cherokee cheekbones.

On the other hand, she reportedly identified herself as “white” on her Rutgers application and did not check the box for applicants who wanted to be considered Native American, so a prosecutor might wonder why Warren believed Aunt Bee’s stories in the 1990’s, but not in the 1970’s . . . .

The legal implications are why Warren hasn’t come clean.

Many people with roots in Oklahoma have grown up being told they are part Indian, even though they may not be on the tribal roles. Warren was probably one of these. The difference with Warren is that she used this hearsay to claim a legal status for herself.

Most other people with a hearsay Indian legacy would not so presume because they would know that a legal status requires some actual legal documentation beyond “family lore”. Being a lawyer and all, she should know she was not entitled to claim Indian heritage even though she may have believed it existed.

But she doesn’t have that, and she’s probably always known she doesn’t. She has relied on the gullibility of her peers to slide through. The bad news is that she will probably continue to succeed.

Apparently, Gov. Patrick spoke out of turn at his “circle the wagons” presser yesterday…

the people of Massive-Two-Spits DO care about Princess Spreading Bull’s story.

So says the Boston Glob…

Smoke signals…??? Anyone smell toast?

    2. …the people of Massive-Two-Spits DO care about Princess Spreading Bull’s story.

    Rags, you rootin’ tootin’ son of a gun, greetings from the Bay State. How are things down in Tucks-Ass? 😉

    2. From your link:

    Being true to one’s own background, and being honest about it, is a familiar issue in Massachusetts politics, from the Irish-Yankee wars of the early and mid-20th century to today’s more complicated mosaic.

    By “more complicated mosaic”, they presumably mean that true Son of the Auld Sod, John Forbes Kerry:

    It was discovered in 2003 by genealogist Felix Gundacker,[4] working with The Boston Globe, that Kerry’s paternal grandparents, who had been born “Fritz Kohn” and “Ida Löwe” in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, changed their names to “Frederick and Ida Kerry” in 1900 and converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism in 1901[5][6] or 1902.[7] Fritz’ elder brother Otto had earlier, in 1887[6] or 1896,[4] also embraced Catholicism. The “Kerry” name, widely misinterpreted as indicative of Irish heritage, was reputedly selected arbitrarily…

    Having taken Kerry to be Irish, I was surprised when a Hibernian acquaintance expressed disappointment when Kerry won his first senate primary. One may speculate what would have happened had the Internet been available to clear up any…misunderstanding…about Kerry’s roots. (Kerry’s opponent, a Tip O’Neill protégé, was no prize either.)

    3. My point is that the Globe knows Kerry’s history full well and their line about staying true to one’s background—note the implication that identity politics is self-evident truth—is BS of the purest order.

      Ragspierre in reply to gs. | May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      All quite true…as a view from the tall grass goes.

      But the LARGER issue here is that the Glob editorial mavins came out calling on Princess Viking Who Gives Milk to come clean.

      That is HUGE. And a direct “in yer face” to the Patrick spin attempt.

        That is HUGE. And a direct “in yer face” to the Patrick spin attempt.

        You may well be right. It might also be the first part of a preplanned trilogy. The second part would be Warren’s address to the Democrat convention; the third, a Globe editorial “report” along the lines of Warren’s fiery speech brought the delegates to their feet, leaving no doubt that blah blah yadda yadda.

        I lean toward your interpretation but am not ready to rule mine out. We’ll see.

          Ragspierre in reply to gs. | May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm

          Yeppers. I think you are imbuing these guys with a level of intelligent design (can we say that?) that really is unsupported by their actual intelligence.

          But they could and have gotten the same place like Topsy; “they just growed that way…”

          Plus, they do have a back-up in the wings…

          gs in reply to gs. | May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm

          Viewing conspiracy theories as usually a waste of time, I’ve already granted that the probabilities favor your interpretation. But:

          Remember Journolist. Remember Stephanopoulos’ puzzling question about contraception at the debates…which is not as puzzling after Fluke and Obama/Catholic hospitals.

          I can’t think of anything to add. Until the convention, the last word is yours.

I live about 30 minutes from Cherokee and would happily road trip with some real Cherokees to attend a couple of Warren functions and press her for some answers.

Cassandra Lite | May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Those who grew up in the Jurassic period–like Lizzie Warren and me–were taught this phrase as soon as we could talk: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Funny that a law prof might soon be falling back on ignorance as an excuse for not doing the due diligence required to substantiate her alleged bloodline.

If she survives the primary challenge, the people of Massachusetts will vote her in. But this whole sordid episode is undermining the foundations of affirmative action by underlining its idiocy. That’s not a terrible booby prize.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Cassandra Lite. | May 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    “But this whole sordid episode is undermining the foundations of affirmative action by underlining its idiocy. That’s not a terrible booby prize.”

    Exactly right. It’s a blessing in disguise. I don’t know what the magnitude of its singular impact will be in this regard, but it at least adds another anecdote to the collection … and past some threshold that collection becomes an inarguable pattern.

    These programs are not helping the inner-city poor kid from the dysfunctional single-parent household in the dysfunctional neighborhood immersed in a self-destructive, dysfunctional subculture.

    There were no affirmative action policies to help poor Jews or Asians.

    I can’t remember his name, but I was listening to a black economist speak once and he said that if you were to wave a magic wand and change the skin color of blacks and hispanics in the inner city to white, it wouldn’t change the trajectory of their lives. The values, norms, and habits leading to at least a moderately successful life are ridulously simple … and ridiculously elusive to those enmeshed in a destructive subculture.

    One of the saddest things I’ve ever heard was when my idealistic Jewish childhood friend finally threw in the towell half way through teaching his first year of the third grade in the inner city. He was already pretty much at his wits’ end … and then he made the mistake of telling his class he was Jewish. Word spread through the school and soon elementary school children from other classes were yelling anti-Semitic slurs at him.

    I had no reflexive impulse to say, “I told you so.” It’s just so unbelievably sad. As he said, these kids are only in the third grade and already they have no future. Phone calls to the kids’ single mothers on his own time elicited either complete disinterest or hostility.

    I wish I knew the answer.

    Well, I do actually. Speaking of magic wands, you need not a magic wand to change skin color, but one to change culture.

    P.S. Read the first dozen or so pages of your book and got sucked right in. I gave it to my wife and told her to hide it until I’m finished with my accounting exams!

      Cassandra Lite in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Your teacher friend needs to tell his story publicly somewhere.

      I don’t know if you heard Thomas Sowell say that, but he fits your description, and I’ve heard him say pretty much that very thing.

      Good luck with your exams.

Federal regulations are not meant for liberal elites, their objective is to increase demand for self-enrichment through culture of corruption = sustainability.

LukeHandCool | May 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.”

—Sir Isaac Newton

“If I have risen higher than I should have, it is by clambering atop the heap of noble savages.”

—Elizabeth Warren

    Doug Wright in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Ah shucks, you made up that first one!

      LukeHandCool in reply to Doug Wright. | May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Oh, dang, Douggie!

      And here I slaved over the subtlety of my mock Sir Isaac quote with what I thought to be overwhelmingly convincing Newtonian precision!

        Doug Wright in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        Just for that, Lukeeeeeeeeeeee, come on out back in da alley. I’s be waiting for youse, Mr. Guy Wardsback. I’s be alone, my gang staying home, truly! Honest!

Well, perhaps if she was a lawyer she would understand all this legal stuff.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to gasper. | May 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    yeah … I wonder if not only admissions and accolades came easier as a Native American … but what about her grading? Most suspect Obama got helped along the way, while exhibiting little competence.

    Is Warren Harvard grade proficient, or did she get a special escort since her Chief role was to fulfill the historic “first (nursing) woman of color” diversity slot?

    Given her lies and backtracking on this simple issue, she sure doesn’t seem to have achieved her degree through merit. As with so many that feel entitled, they are the MOST belligerent when their false claims are questioned.

I love how her memory is cloudy on when she first claimed to be a Native American. Right up until the point where hse specifies that it was “after her employment”.

On that, she is very specific. Ignoring for a moment all her cloudy memories, can she at least prove at least this one, very specific claim?

If, as we all suspect, she cannot offer any evidence she’s telling us the facts (this time!) then her entire statement needs to be regarded as the Professor very properly states it, as a continuing process of lie after lie after lie, with truth coming only when it’s obvious to all she has been consistently lying.

Actually, scratch that: the answer is obvious on it’s face. She identified herself to HLS as Native American during the recruitment process, because that’s when Harvard identified her as such to defend their minority hiring record. That identification could only have come from her, according to the required process.

So the specific claim she makes here is another obvious lie, and should be reported as such (even by the Globe, I would imagine).

    Observer in reply to MTF. | May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Warren may be telling the truth about not telling Harvard she was Native American until after they hired her. After all, Harvard probably already knew Warren claimed to be NA when they were considering hiring her. They would have read it in the U of Penn’s faculty publications, and they also probably would have heard of it when they were checking her references and work record at Penn. After Harvard made her the offer and she accepted, Harvard’s admin. would have to fill out those pesky diversity forms, and they would need Warren to verify that she was, in fact, Native American. That’s when Harvard would have heard it straight from Warren herself for the first time. Still not true, but the timing of Warren’s lie about her minority status to Harvard could very well be accurate.

      MTF in reply to Observer. | May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      We know it was a lie. As the Professor notes in his post:

      “We now know that in its Spring 1993 issue (which would have been prepared substantially before that), during Warren’s 1992-1993 “visiting” year at Harvard, the Harvard Women’s Law Journal listed Warren on a relatively short list of Women of Color in Legal Academia.

      We now know (again last night after The Globe found documents) that Warren was listed for the 1992-1993 academic year as Native American in Harvard Law federal filings.

      This means that during Warren’s visiting year, a “tryout” time of sorts in law school recruiting, Harvard listed her as a minority in two places, one of which required her to specifically tell them she was NA.

      Open and shut case, I think.

2nd Ammendment Mother | May 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I keep coming back to the problem that Grants and other Federal money is tied to these reports. I’ve sat in on Civil Rights audits that are required of programs that are funded by the USDA – I can’t imagine that academic audits are any less stringent.

    Wow – “Civil rights audits”? That sounds both Orwellian and fascinating. Who does these audits and why? Is it the EEOC? USDA? DOJ? How do they decide who should get audited? Is the organization being checked for diversity in people who are already there, or do they have stings, like “let’s advertise a job and see who gets hired”.

    Are these things frequent? A Civil Rights audit sounds like it could be expensive…

Once again, the attempted cover up is much worse than coming clean in the first place. If the woman said, “Family lore said this but if I’m in error, then I’ll stop and I apologize to the Cherokee Nation for my use of your nationality.” She gets a weekend of bad press and it’s over.

But now you’ve got repeated lies, obfuscations and a growing opposition.

“Being a liberal means never having to say your sorry.” This used to be the mantra when the MSM had a monopoly on news disimenation. No more.

stevewhitemd | May 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm

The bad news is that this is taking quite a while to come out.

The good news is that this is taking quite a while to come out.

The wheels of justice do grind exceedingly fine, do they not.

Prof. Warren has to maintain the lie or she’s guilty of lying to the government about her heritage for purposes of affirmative action.

But it’s Harvard that is really stuck: they first bought the lie, and then tried to un-do it. That latter step is the killer. If they believed her, why delist her as a protected minority? There’s a legal term for their state of mind at that point, I’m sure.

As a partisan, I enjoy this. As someone who wants our elections to matter, our politicians to spend their time talking about important things, and our country to do well, I am cringing.

I would imagine that Harvard could potentially be culpable if they filed falsely, filed without the appropriate supporting documentation. And, who reviews these documents in Washington?

Did Harvard also use Warren’s mother’s statements as its basis for its filings?

In any case what Warren did was unethical – she let a lie go on living. One is led to think that she did this to leverage herself over others seeking the same position. She did not do unto others what she would want others to do to her.

This is a job for Michael Sandel

The article published by the Boston Globe also states that she specifically identified herself as “white” despite given the chance of identifying herself as “Native American” on “…official University of Texas form…”

See, Go to Page 2

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Can’t you guys cut an imaginary Cherokee squaw a little slack? After all, she did once point to her submission of a tasty recipe for crab meat with tomato mayonnaise to the “Pow Wow Chow” cookbook as proof of her Cherokee ancestry. Maybe Harvard filed the forms in good faith based on that.

And if it’s not proof enough for you, then it’s only because you’re a racist wingnut extremist. And a homophobe.

Deval Patrick is an Axelrod creation just like that occupier in the WH but it is federal statutes that Crockajawea is in violation of so that means she will get a presidential pardon.
Remember that plagiarism scandal of 2002 and what Harvard did about it? Yep, Doris Kearns Goodwin kept her Harvard PhD.(Piled Higher,Deeper)and her Pulitzer as well.
Anyone here want to waste time reading what Dr. Crockajawea wrote to check for plagiarism?

[…] herself as ‘Native American’ on forms she filled-out. This many be a federal crime. Do take the time to click here and read his full report. As the Prof comments: …drip by drip, documents have been uncovered, and Warren drip by drip […]

It’s Elizabeth Warren’s and Harvard’s fe-e— –lings, stupid.

Just correcting the typo, Prof!


She must be one of the descendants of the “Lost Colony!”

This could get really, really interesting!

[…] the bigger picture that should be troubling to Massachusetts voters, a now-established pattern of lies and exaggerations and obfuscation designed to avoid personal responsibility while campaigning for a […]

[…] Color. Since she put herself on lists of Minority Law Teachers and Woman of Color in Academia, and identified herself to two employers as Native American, I wanted to see if Warren stood by those designations in light […]

[…] Since she put herself on lists of Minority Law Teachers and Woman of Color in Academia, and identified herself to two employers as Native American, I wanted to see if Warren stood by those designations in light […]