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Elizabeth Warren launches war on critical think tanks

Elizabeth Warren launches war on critical think tanks

As you read the rest of this post, please keep in mind that Elizabeth Warren never has authorized release of her hiring files at Harvard Law School or other employers to see whether her phony Native American and Cherokee status was known at the time of hiring.

Now onto the story.

Mother Jones, obviously sympathetic to Warren, details how Warren has launched a campaign to force financial institutions to disclose support for think tanks just days after a Democratic, but not progressive, think tank criticized her, Elizabeth Warren: Big Banks Should Reveal Their Donations to Influential Think Tanks:

Under current law, banks and other corporations are not required to publicly report their contributions to think tanks. That means that lawmakers who use think tank data and analysis to shape laws and regulations designed to police banks do not know how much bank money influences that research. “A lot of the power of big banks over DC comes from donations to think tanks, who then put out ‘studies’ favorable to certain ways of doing business,” says one Democratic aide. In a letter to the CEOs of the nation’s six largest financial institutions—JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley—Warren called on the companies to start voluntarily reporting their donations to these policy shops….

Warren’s letter comes a few days after the president and vice president of the centrist think tank Third Way wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed warning Democrats against following Warren over a “populist cliff.” The Nation reported this week that Third Way employs a Washington consulting firm that represents financial institutions including MasterCard and Deutsche Bank.

Politico ran a story in which a Republican accused Warren of McCarthyite tacitcs:

From a senior DC Republican on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): “The normally savvy Liz Warren may have made a rare misstep … in response to … Third Way publishing an op-ed critical of her populist liberal policy positions. Rather than meet the policy arguments head on in the arena of ideas, Warren chose to fire off an intemperate letter to the CEOs of major financial institutions effectively demanding that they disclose all their corporate contributions to policy wonks and think tanks — implying but not saying that they were stealth underwriters of the op-ed objecting to her own views.

“The Warren letter was a mistake for a number of reasons. First, there is absolutely no evidence beyond feverish conspiracy talk that the banks asked Third Way to write an op-ed critical of Warren. Accusing the banks with no evidence puts Warren in the company of Larouche-like quacks. Second, attacking think tank donors makes Warren look like an opponent of a robust stream of idea development and discussion. This is, to say the least, an odd place for a former Harvard Law School professor to be, and will make even the taciturn pundits at AEI and Brookings very uncomfortable.

“Third, Warren’s ‘give me the names’ edict, sounds uncomfortably like the kind of demand that Joe McCarthy would have made in the 1950s. The response that silenced him ironically came from a Massachusetts lawyer, Joseph Welch — who simply looked McCarthy in the eye and said ‘at long last, have you left no sense of decency?’ Indeed.”

Warren supporters are pushing back against suggestions Warren was engaged in an attempt to intimidate opposition, via Politico:

Lot of folks pretty unhappy with the criticism we ran from an anonymous GOP source on Thursday of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s decision to send a letter to big bank CEOs demanding they release details of their donations to think tanks after one of those think tanks, Third Way, had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal critical of Warren and other progressives calling for Social Security expansion.

Essentially, Warren’s defender are claiming she simply wants transparency, something many Senators want as to campaign donations and so on.

But it’s far, far more pernicious than that, as Tim Carney notes (h/t Instapundit):

I’m generally for more disclosure in campaign finance, but the best argument against requiring full disclosure by groups engaged in political speech is that politicians sometimes retaliate against their critics. Sen. Elizabeth Warren inadvertently made that very argument this week.

As told by Ben White at Politico, a group called “Third Way” criticized Warren. Warren apparently suspected that Third Way’s criticism of her was funded by banks. So she wrote a letter to bank CEOs demanding they disclose which political groups they’re funding.

Warren sits on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. She’s basically telling the entities whose livelihood her committee controls to stop criticizing her. This is bullying — and it’s the best argument for allowing companies and individuals to anonymously criticize politicians.

We know what happens when groups not friendly to Democrats are identified either as political donors or supporters of conservative-leaning groups or causes.  Boycotts, secondary boycotts and intimidation.  Just look at how The Nation, mentioned in the quote above, already is going after consultants used by Third Way.

The best way for Warren to stifle criticism from think tanks is to go after their funders, to unleash the left blogosphere on them.  In order to do that, you need to know who funds them, who works with them, and who supports them.

If a think tank produces a research piece on a particular policy, the research can be judged on its merits, subject to legitimate criticisms as to arguments and supportive authority.

That’s not what Warren wants.  She wants to shut down the criticism under the guise of transparency.

Update:  Left-wing groups are responding to the attack dog whistle, going after Third Way’s Honorary Board members (who mostly are “moderate” Democratic policitians), via NY Times (h/t @DrewMTips):

In a sign of the left’s new aggressiveness, a coalition of liberals is trying to marginalize a centrist Democratic policy group that was responsible for a Wall Street Journal op-ed article this week that said economic populism was “disastrous” for the party.

The coalition, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and three other liberal advocacy organizations have urged their members to contact a group of congressional Democrats who are honorary leaders of the centrist group, Third Way.

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Of course, this tendency is not limited to Collectivists like Warren.

Would that it were.

But the thrust of McAnus-Feingold was what I called “the incumbent protection act” at the time.

None of the New Baronial Class in DC wants to be criticized, or opposed vigorously.

See McConnell, Mitch.

Free speech should be free of fetters, and fingers.

But I do seem to remember yet another thin skinned Progressive who ran for office just in the last few years .. I think he may have won the Presidency.

Another hapless victim in our society. The system is soooooooo “rigged” against poor firebrand Liz. Her torch was blown out by gusts of truth.

It’s transparent to me that Warren can’t take the intellectual heat. She better get out of the kitchen. And, Pow Wow Chow is not on the menu.

JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley—These banks can spend their shareholder money on think tanks or on bubblegum. These banks are accountable to shareholders.

Liz Warren is not held accoutable. She is given a pass by less-than-critical thinkers.

Money well spent by these banks would be a critical (both meanings)biography of Liz “The Fabricator” Warren.

She continues to define and distinguish herself to the Progressive movement. Republicans have no voice and no capacity to define her as “pernicious” or a “McCarthyite.” The media certainly won;t do it for them. So I see this is a total win for her. She’s running for president, there is no question. The fact she’s said she isn’t is exactly what will make her irresistible when the times comes.

Henry Hawkins | December 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Whether she realizes it or not, what Warren is doing here and generally will worsen an already growing intramural battle between far lefties and centrist lefties in the Democrat Party.

More popcorn, please. With any luck, this snake (Democrat Party) will swallow its tail.

If I am alive if and when Tin Lizzie runs for commander-in-‘Chief’ and wins, I along with many others will be living in Wigwams, Longhouses and Teepees.

Unbelievable and yet totally predictable. Warren is a good bellwether for the direction the radical left prefer.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | December 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I never thought I’d defend The Nation about anything, but here I am.

The Nation is critical of corporate donors period. But to the extent corporate donations are part of the political/policy making process, they want the donations fully disclosed – whether the think tanks who receive the donations and write the policy papers lean left or right on the spectrum.

I say that because The Nation did some good investigative reporting this past summer about how policy papers written by analysts at the left wing think tank The Center for American Progress give the appearance of a conflict of interest because of a large increase in donations from corporations who stand to benefit from policy positions favored by CAP.

    Yeah, but like many leftist policy positions that work in theory, the reality is all busted. Again, there is nothing subtle about Warren’s threat to exact vengeance on any who criticise her. It’s like she’s the second coming of Obama-unafraid to weild coercive power openly in the presence of a compliant press. Consistency does not equal credibility. Just ask Hugo Chavez. You’ll need a Ouiji board.

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | December 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    It’s a bad idea – the fact that The Nation might be willing to apply it even handedly doesn’t make it a good one.

That’s strange. A left-wing coalition does not normally become internally hostile until its competitors are either marginalized or eviscerated. Perhaps an overwhelming conflict of interests has forced their union to become prematurely stratified. I wonder who or what those interests may be.

Which, of course, is why limited government is the ideal and purpose of our Constitution.

Fortunately, if Republicans recover the Senate, the number of Democratic seats on the Banking Committee will be reduced. There will be a lot of pressure to kick the newest members off so senior Democrats can have the choicest assignments.

Who cares who funds think tanks? They do research, conduct studies and issue position papers. You either agree with them or you don’t. It’s not like they can force you to buy Obamacare, or raise your taxes or impose onerous regulations (something Liz is good at). This is a clear attempt at intimidation, something else Liz is good at.

Why are women of the left such sexless scolds?

She is an Indian giver. Yeah, I’ve written that before, but hey, it’s still true.

Scratch a progressive, find an authoritarian.

Too true.

How do you “progress” the nation according to their dictates without possessing stifling authority?

There are “Two Americas” when it comes to disclosure:

Elizabeth Warren and those she opposes.

“In a sign of the left’s new aggressiveness, a coalition of liberals is trying to marginalize a centrist Democratic policy group”

Thats not possible. Only the right has been pushing to the extreme and getting rid of the middle.

have you left no sense of decency?

What’s that word “left” doing in there? Warren didn’t have any decency to start with.

Headline all wrong! Should read,

Warren Sharpens Scalping Knife.
Think Tanks Circle The Wagons.

Sometime ago I wrote a bit about visiting the William A. Jacobson Gulag and Skateboard Park during President Warrens third term. At the time it was intended to be a joke. Now, I am not so sure.

Critics of Warren can expect “Soviet” style re-education camps and public trials and political self denunciations. On the bright side, Professor Jacobson shoule be thankful that, due to EPA clean water policies, he will only be waterboarded using clean, clear, healthy water.

These people are Nazis, plain and simple, even to th extent of having LSM and blogosphere Goebbels who are rushing to declare that they should not be criticized. Yes, that was part of Nazism.

This is a dangerous, dangerous woman. No scruples: a total fascist sociapath.

She gives Obama a run for his money as a narcissist.

[…] Elizabeth Warren launches war on critical think tanks As you read the rest of this post, please keep in mind that Elizabeth Warren never has authorized release of her hiring files at Harvard Law School or other employers to see whether her phony Native American and Cherokee status was known at the time of hiring. […]