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Elizabeth Warren obtained federal fee waivers despite high 6-figure income and 8-figure net worth

Elizabeth Warren obtained federal fee waivers despite high 6-figure income and 8-figure net worth

Did not pay her “fair share,” obtained PACER fee waivers in at least 50 federal districts 2005-2012

Elizabeth Warren has built her progressive rock star image and her campaign by attacking the wealthy factory owners and others who supposedly do not pay their “fair share” and take advantage of loopholes to live off of infrastructure paid for by others.

Yet Warren appears to be one of those people who takes advantage.

Warren falsely and without any legitimate legal basis claimed to be Cherokee for employment purposes.  Warren also chintzed by failing to register for the Massachusetts Bar despite an active practice of law in Cambridge since the mid-1990s, thereby evading Bar registration dues.  Howie Carr has a great column today about Warren’s class warfare phoniness.

Add another example to the long list:  Warren obtained fee waivers from at least 50 federal bankruptcy courts so she would not have to pay for access to the federal PACER system, even in years when she had a high 6-figure income and an 8-figure net worth.

Warren’s High Income and Net Worth

In 2008, the earliest year for which Warren has released income tax returns, Warren and her husband had a combined income of $831,208, which increased in 2009 to $981,670.  Warren’s net worth as of the end of 2011 was as high as $14.5 million.

In 2010-2011, Warren earned approximately $140,000 from Aspen Publishers for her books about bankruptcy.  Warren also has published a variety of commercial books over the years, for which no income data is available, such as the 2004 publication of The Two Income Trap (see Megan McArdle and Todd Zawycki reviews), which incorporated her bankruptcy research and many of her non-commercial articles.

Warren also worked as a private consultant for which she earned $90,000 on bank antitrust litigation, although it’s not known if she incorporated her banktruptcy docket work because she will not release her report.

These commercial endeavors are separate from her non-commercial, highly politicized research, such as the review of bankruptcy case dockets which led to a devastating critique of Warren’s work by Rutgers Law Professor Philip Schuchman.  These bankruptcy file reviews also contributed to Warren’s non-commercial studies such as the misleading claim that medical expenses account for one-third  of all bankruptcies.

Warren’s bankruptcy docket research has contributed at least indirectly to the vast money-making empire which euphemistically could be called “Elizabeth Warren, Inc.” (not an actual name, but fitting).

PACER  Waivers In At Least 50 Districts

I say good for Warren, she built that $14.5 million net worth through hard work and persistence.

But Warren, who berates factory owners, obtained fee waivers for access to the bankruptcy docket maintained by the federal PACER system, for which others have to pay.

Warren took advantage of a policy at PACER which provides for fee waivers for academic research based on her standing as a law professor.

Copies of letters submitted by Warren in 2006 and 2008 in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, along with corresponding Orders (plus a third Order in Maryland for which no letter was found) were located through the PACER system.

In her November 22, 2006, letter to the Court, Warren attached a list of 49 federal district courts which previously had granted her waivers from the normal PACER fees:

 

How much did Warren save in fees?

It would depend on her use, and how far back in time the waivers went.  We know  Warren wrote (see fn. 42) that prior to 2002 she obtained a grant from a private foundation to cover some PACER fees, and that as of 2006 there were 50 districts from which she had waivers.

Warren’s history in the Western District of Pennsylvania is available through Google searches, and goes back at least to 2005, and continues with a waiver application submitted in January 2012.

Here is the current PACER fee schedule:

Access to court documents costs $0.10 per page.  The cost to access a single document is capped at $3.00, the equivalent of 30 pages.  The cap does not apply to name searches, reports that are not case-specific and transcripts of federal court proceedings.

By Judicial Conference policy, if your usage does not exceed $15 in a quarter, fees for that quarter are waived,  effectively making the service free for most users.

It is easy to surmise that Warren saved thousands of dollars, maybe even more, over the course of her research, by not having to pay the PACER fees that all other users have to pay.

The savings were a result of her representations that the research was being done for academic purposes.  Here is what Warren represented in her November 22, 2006, letter (emphasis mine):

All of our research is made public and is shared with the courts, the Office of the United States Trustee and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. We do not use PACER for any purpose other than academic research. We do not use PACER for the practice of law for clients or use PACER for any other fee-generating purposes.

Our collective and individual research has been published in several law review articles, including the Cornell Law Review, California (Berkeley) Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, and Stanford Law Review, as well as professional journals in medicine and sociology. We have also integrated the research into several books. Without access to these data, this work might never have been completed. Everyone associated with the project is very grateful to the judges who have made it possible….

I would like to request a waiver, on precisely the same terms as that granted in other courts.

PACER access will be used only for academic research; it will not be used in connection with the representation of clients or for other fee-generating purposes.  I would also like to request that the fee waiver be applicable for all data collection through 2007 and, if possible, beyond.

Not Paying Her Fair Share

The issue is not whether academics should get waivers, or whether Warren complied with her representations.  Let’s assume she was entitled and did comply.

The issue is a political candidate who has built her candidacy on the claim that others who can afford to do so do not pay their “fair share” and have built their fortunes based on infrastructure the rest of us paid for.

That same argument could be made as to the federal PACER system, which has contributed to Warren’s academic and commercial success, but for which Warren did not want to pay a penny.

When given the chance to pay the same share everyone else pays, Warren chose not to do so even though it would have represented a tiny fraction of her annual income and an even tinier fraction of her net worth.

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Comments

“…although it’s now known if she incorporated her banktruptcy docket work because she will not release her report.”

Suggest you meant “…it’s NOT known…”

Otherwise…just damn. More of Lyin’ Lizzie makes out…on your dime….

This is typical for Democrats. They lie, cheat, steal and then try and then treat all there honest hardworking folks like crooks. Ohh the conscience of a liberal is a descent into stupidity.

    Oh, you stupid, silly people. The rules are for the unwashed masses, not the “great thinkers” a/k/a democrats.

    tamerlane in reply to imfine. | October 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I’m a liberal, and it’s my sense of ethics that has led me to speak out against Warren. You’re a fool if you believe one side or the other has a monopoly on corruption or mendacity.

The progressives constructed a lucrative niche for themselves and have become reactionary in order to preserve the benefits it afforded them. Unfortunately, for progressives, they started their lives in response to real and manufactured inequities, rather than on the basis of universal, sustainable principles. It was inevitable that their conception of progress would run its course and then be disposed along with other reactive measures.

I am sure Liz would say she “gave back” by publishing legal scholarship.

Hmmm…kind of a credible claim. No?

So.

She didn’t build that?

Elizabeth Warren, Oh how feckless thou art! Let me count the ways…

There have been few Senate candidates as flawed as Warren.

Mass Democrat Party elites believe their flaws are teflon-coated, but when subjected to enough opposition heat, their media-applied teflon coating melts just like real Teflon leaving their flaws exposed to the ill winds public judgement.

Case in point: Martha Coakley, 2010 special Senate election candidate loser of the people’s Massachusetts Senate seat.

    Estragon in reply to VotingFemale. | October 15, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Coakley was and remains a nightmare, but she at least had a record of public service as a prosecutor.

    If we could put law professors in the Senate with the skills and analytical abilities of Jacobsen, Reynolds, and the Volokh crew, it would one thing. But we never get that from those who reach political office from academia or media – at least not since Phil Gramm or Dick Armey.

    We end up instead with the likes of Warren – actually she may be the overall worst prospective Senator since Patty Murray (who has fully lived up to expectations of inferiority).

    bobby b in reply to VotingFemale. | October 15, 2012 at 8:01 am

    “There have been few Senate candidates as flawed as Warren.”
    – – – –

    Oh, I can think of at least one.

    He ran for the Senate in Illinois, from one of the big cities there, from what I’ve heard. Completely and comfortably interwoven into the big-league corruption that is the hallmark of that city – a level of venality that makes most of the rest of the country’s syndicates look like high school B-team level. Even today, while holding an arguably higher position than he held in that city, he oozes a level of self-service and self-concern that would gag a maggot.

    Coincidentally, he claims he’s native, American, too.

    But in a weird sort of counterpoint to Ms. Warren’s situation, while she was doing legal work without getting the professional credential, he was at some law school polishing his professional credential without doing any legal work.

    So, they may actually cancel each other out.

What a corrupt hag.

I’ve said this before, but I’d love to see a trial featuring William Jacobson on one side and Elizabeth Warren on the other. It’d be like the Romney-Obama debate.

posted on my end, fully credited and linked back to here.
hope it helps some, I get thousands of guests a day and have had a lot of warren incoming search terms.
we must (IMO) get the info out, thanks for all the work Prof.

I’m sure she never, ever, ever used that access to conduct research on her for-profit legal cases…

Watch her try to pass this off as her rendition of fiscal conservatism – she’s that shameless.

I really believe in the old “instead of giving a man a fish, teach him to fish for himself and he’ll be far better off in life” (I could be off just a bit with that, but I’m too lazy to Google it.)

All this talk about the rich not paying their fair share is starting to drive me nuts.

If people won’t let this go …. instead of taxing successful people into oblivion (which won’t help anybody), how about requiring them to hold seminars teaching the whiners in our society how to get off their asses and be successful themselves if it’s so important to them?

Instead of handing ’em a few dollars through government programs created by the legal embezzlement of successful peoples’ wealth, teach ’em how to shut up and stop whining and take on life.

Or, the extra tax revenue they get from sticking it to the rich … make it only payable in fish to the recipients.

Maybe I’m just ranting.

    whenever I hear it I ask what is the fair share.
    I never get a succinct answer.
    after hems and haws I just say its ok, I know its whatever you feel you can legally steal and I leave the conversation.

      LukeHandCool in reply to dmacleo. | October 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      “I never get a succinct answer. … after hems and haws I just say its ok, I know its whatever you feel”

      You got that right.

      My general overgeneralization:

      Conservatives tend to be objective.

      Liberals love to be subjective.

Gotham’s filling up with all of the antihero characters for the final battle: Two-Face Obama, Joker Biden and Catty Woman Warren– a self-indulgent feline bent on clawing her way to the top of power and wealth.

If there is a gawd, people like Warren will get their just due on national Eviction Day in November.

We have no requirement for fake Indians, liars, obfuscators, cheats and other forms of law breaking no shame candidates.

I’m beginning to “hope” that we will see “change” in a form that will benefit all of us…

I’m not a Warren apologist but I think it’s fairly common for law professors and even students to get waivers for PACER fees when they are doing bankruptcy-related research. For instance, a typical court order limits the use of the PACER account to academic research purposes. Further, in the case of the linked order, Prof. Warren’s successor, Law Prof. Katherine Porter, received the same waiver when she took over Prof. Warren’s research.

    When given the chance to pay the same share everyone else pays, Warren chose not to do so even though it would have represented a tiny fraction of her annual income and an even tinier fraction of her net worth.
    **************************************************

    see how words have meaning?
    she didn’t build that practice…

    ReneeA in reply to DRJ. | October 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I agree. There are professional courtesies for educators, but pair this with the post on Warren doing no pro-bono work or ever giving back to the legal profession. She has no problem taking, but where is the giving?

    Academics get PACER for ‘the greater good’, but the legal community and academics recieves little in return.

    bobby b in reply to DRJ. | October 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

    “I’m not a Warren apologist but I think it’s fairly common for law professors and even students to get waivers for PACER fees when they are doing bankruptcy-related research.”
    – – – – –

    True. But, when you apply for the waiver, you make an attestation – like, an oath, but for atheists – that you are not using that research to generate legal fees.

    In other words, for academic use, you get freebies, like PACER, and WESTLAW.

    But she was dragging in rather huge fees during this time.

    Want to bet you could track her research – her FREE research – through her employment by Travelers, and you’d see lots of research that coincidentally ended up being cited in her for-profit briefs?

    Want to bet she never opened a paying account to use when she was making a rather huge profit from her research?

    Know how many law students get in trouble on a yearly basis for using the fee-waived WESTLAW and/or PACER accounts for their non-academic research? (Hint: tribes and tribes of them.)

    So, she turns out to be as smarmy as can be. What do you wanna bet she also cheats very significantly on her taxes?

    ReneeA in reply to DRJ. | October 15, 2012 at 8:57 am

    In regards to Prof, Katherine Porter in her CV, she does give back to the legal community.

    “Prof. Porter has also been a frequent speaker/presenter on the topics of mortgage ownership, life after bankruptcy and other debtor vs. creditor issues at workshops for bankruptcy judges.”

    http://www.law.uci.edu/faculty/profile_k_porter.html

    She also blogs! And it is a blog for the general public interested in the subject of bankruptcy, even though the contributions are from legal professionals.

    http://www.law.uci.edu/faculty/profile_k_porter.html

Professor Jacobson,

Are you sure there isn’t a special PACER fee waiver for Native-Americans?

TrooperJohnSmith | October 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Yet, once again… it’s as inevitable and timely as the sun rising, the seasons changing and the compass pointing north. What, you ask?

Democrats always accuse Conservatives of doing those things which they are guilty of doing or are planning to do. When Lyin’ Lizzie Warren says, “Fatcats don’t pay their fair share!” she is guilty as sin to the nth degree. And like most Lefties, Lizzie’s probably tightfisted with her money, her belief being that charity is wholly government largesse.

NC Mountain Girl | October 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Considering the size of the endowments at many academic institutions they should charge them double the regular fees for their research in the name of fairness.

A great many years ago I worked for the ABA. Committees always wanted to have academics and judges participate but while the law firms would reimburse the costs of going to the meetings the academics and judges often had to pay out of their own pockets. The partners at the bigger firms tended to fret about this being a burden for their academic and judicial colleagues considering the vast differences in income. I suspect a lot of practicing lawyers now struggling in a whole new universe of fee structures look at Warren’s annual compensation per hour worked and wish they could trade places.

legacyrepublican | October 15, 2012 at 1:32 am

I am afraid this would not play out for the average voter although I completely agree with Prof. Jacobson and what he is pointing out here.

If I were to bring up the topic in a TV ad, I would use a scene of someone perfectly healthy and athletic with a handicap sticker on their car driving all over town getting perk after perk with them coming home to a house with a handicap ramp which they avoid while going into the door.

Oh, at some point in the ad, I would have the guy getting the perk laughing as he watches someone get a ticket for parking in an handicap zone without a sticker.

I would have the audio play Ms. Warren’s lame excuses over the ad punctuated by the athletic guy getting another perk.

Then I think that most voters would understand how Ms. Warren using race, her academic position, and other tricks to get perks none of us would be allowed if we were to do it is so wrong and how wrong she is for MA.

[…] How did Elizabeth Warren make $14 million? […]

[…] Elizabeth Warren obtained federal fee waivers despite high 6-figure income and 8-figure net worth- Elizabeth Warren has built her progressive rock star image and her campaign by attacking the wealthy factory owners and others who supposedly do not pay their “fair share” and take advantage of loopholes to live off of infrastructure paid for by others.Yet Warren appears to be one of those people who takes advantage.Warren falsely and without any legitimate legal basis claimed to be Cherokee for employment purposes. Warren also chintzed by failing to register for the Massachusetts Bar despite an active practice of law in Cambridge since the mid-1990s, thereby evading Bar registration dues. Howie Carr has a great column today about Warren’s class warfare phoniness. […]

In her speeches over the years, Warren likes to say that when she decided to go to law school in 1973, she’d never met a lawyer in her entire life. Highly doubtful.

In this video, she first says that before she decided to go to law schoo, she runs into her former classmates from Oklahoma who had gone to law school, and then later says when she went to law school she had “never met a lawyer.” She would have been in her thirties b that point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Uk-DwUvJw&feature=related

In 7:49 in the video above, she states that she goes home to Oklahoma and runs into many of her male classmates who had gone to law school. But then at 8:34, she turns around and says, “I’d never met a lawyer.”
!

    Mercyneal in reply to Mercyneal. | October 15, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Correction: Warren was 24 when she went to law school in 1973. She likes to say that she had never in her whole life up to that point had she ever met a lawyer. Come on! She had been married to a NASA engineer in Houston and I am sure the circles they were travelling in weren’t podunk.

    She has also claimed in speeches that when she went to law school in 1973, absolutely the only jobs open to women then were in teaching or in nursing. That’s just nonsense

“She has also claimed in speeches that when she went to law school in 1973, absolutely the only jobs open to women then were in teaching or in nursing. That’s just nonsense.”

By 1973 my wife had been working for 8 years as a systems engineer in the banking industry for IBM. To IBM’s credit, by 1965 when my wife graduated from Radcliffe/Harvard, the company had already started aggressively recruiting women for technical jobs. In fact, my wife’s SE team included almost as many women as men. By 1973 my wife was being well paid for her skills and the disparity in male/female pay scales, which to some degree reflected years of experience, was considerably less of an issue than it was when she started working for IBM.

Aw, come on. It’s only the rest of us poor smucks who aren’t in on the know who have to pay these fees and/or taxes. Dims get a pass and are able to game the system because they show minorities how to do it every day so of course they know how to do it for themselves. I worked with some minorities who didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain but could quote you chapter and verse every entitlement from the government and where and how to get it.

In her exemption request, Warren claims she is only using PACER for “academic” purposes.
1) Is there a way to disprove that?
2) If proven that she used her free PACER access for commercial cases, what kind of trouble does that put her in?
3) Who has the ability to hold her ass over that fire in the next three weeks?

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