WaPo punctures Elizabeth Warren narrative: She represented large company “trying to avoid having to clean up a toxic waste site”
Much like her Native American scandal, Warren’s lucrative legal practice when she was at Harvard Law feeds a narrative that Warren has not been honest and transparent about her personal history.
Elizabeth Warren political and personal narrative is that she has always been a selfless fighter against big corporations.
But as we first exposed in 2012, Warren maintained a vibrant legal practice when she was a professor at Harvard Law School that paints a different picture. Warren recently admitted that she made, at minimum, close to $2 million with her legal practice, most of it after she joined HLS as a tenured professor.
Aside from the the money, Warren has a bigger problem: Much of her representation was in favor of big corporations against employees, consumers and others she now claims to champion.
We paved the way in exposing how Warren issued misleading and incomplete lists of her cases in 2012:
- Elizabeth Warren issues incomplete list of cases (2012)
- Elizabeth Warren helped protect Dow Chemical against breast implant claims (2012)
- Elizabeth Warren’s implausible Dow Chemical claim (2012)
- Elizabeth Warren represented large utility seeking to liquidate rural electric cooperative (2012)
- Elizabeth Warren’s implausible Dow Chemical claim (2012)
- Elizabeth Warren held asbestos workers hostage to inter-corporate fight (2012)
- Documenting another Elizabeth Warren fib — Fairchild Aircraft case (2012)
- Legal Representation of Major Corporations (ElizabethWarrenWiki)
Our reporting played an important role in leading Annie Linsky of The Washington Post (formerly at the Boston Globe) to issue a devastating take down of Warren’s role in fighting against women with breast implant claims, WaPo confirms: As lawyer, Elizabeth Warren worked to limit Dow Chemical’s liability to breast implant victims (2019)
That WaPo report on Warren’s representation of Dow Chemical, first exposed by us in 2012, should have created a media firestorm, but as I noted at the time, it got lost in the noise created by a Trump tweet:
Timing is everything in politics, and Elizabeth Warren received a huge break when a devastating Washington Post investigation of Warren’s legal practice when she was a law professor was published on Monday, July 15, 2019. That was the day after Trump’s tweets telling four congresswomen “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….”
The investigation confirmed and expanded on Legal Insurrection’s reporting from 2012 that in her private legal practice Warren worked against breast implant victims, not for them as she claimed. It was part of a pattern of Warren representing major corporations against the people Warren claims to care about, before she launched her political career.
Those Trump tweets sparked a week-long (and still ongoing) media feeding frenzy in which the WaPo report about Warren received little attention. The WaPo report should have been massive news, particularly with the second Democrat debate coming up this week. It should have been the subject of other news coverage about Warren’s private legal practice, and other Democrat presidential candidates should have been talking about how it works against Warren much as Joe Biden’s past is used against him.
But it passed with barely a mention in other news outlets and competing campaigns, as the prolonged news cycle was consumed by focus on Trump’s fight with “The Squad.”
Now Linsky, together with Matt Viser, has done it again, digging up a Warren representation almost as devastating to Warren’s political narrative as the Dow Chemical represenation. But you probably didn’t hear about that WaPo story, published December 9, because it was lost in the impeachment noise.
Here’s an excerpt from, Memo from 1990s pollution case shows Elizabeth Warren in action as corporate consultant:
The memo from then-Professor Elizabeth Warren was written on Harvard Law School letterhead, a symbol of gravitas for a scholar renowned as a champion for consumers victimized by predatory banks and other big businesses.
But on this occasion, Warren was not arguing on behalf of vulnerable families, nor was she offering the sort of stinging rebuke of corporate greed that would later define her political career. Rather, Warren was representing a large development company that was trying to avoid having to clean up a toxic waste site.
The memo, which Warren wrote in 1996, used legalistic and often dense language to argue that businesses faced the “risk of the unknown” from a growing threat of lawsuits, and that defended the company’s right to “maximize its returns to its unpaid creditors and to survive as an employer.”
“Environmental claims, product liability claims, and mass tort claims, for which we have currently only seen the tip of the iceberg, are multiplying against American businesses,” wrote Warren, who, according to her campaign, was arguing that a different company should bear the cleanup costs.
The eight-page memo, which has not previously been reported, offers a rare glimpse of Warren in action during her past work as a corporate consultant — one whose arguments were at times out of step with the liberal presidential campaign she is running today.
While Warren has attempted to claim here advocacy was purely a legal and philosophical argument over who should pay, WaPo casts doubt on that defense:
CMC Heartland Partners was trying to avoid a newly enacted Washington state law that could put it on the hook for about $4 million of the cleanup costs, according to local news reports. The company, which had acquired the land through a bankruptcy proceeding, argued that the legal maneuver should have shielded it from responsibility.
Warren’s memo was sent to the Justice Department in an effort to elevate the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court — a move seen by activists at the time as a delay tactic that would only jeopardize public health.
Environmentalists who fought to clean up toxic waste sites said they are familiar with that tactic and the frustrations it causes….
Warren’s argument put her in line with other major corporations that were also seeking a Supreme Court review of the Washington state law.
The problem is not that Elizabeth Warren represented big corporations and made millions. Lawyers gonna lawyer, and sometimes lawyers represent clients with whom they disagree economically or politically.
The problem is that Warren carefully has portrayed her personal narrative as something quite different. Much like her Native American scandal, it feeds a different narrative about Warren — that she’s not honest about her personal history.DONATE
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