Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president as a champion of America’s downtrodden working class, but it wasn’t always that way.
Throughout her legal career, Warren made millions defending big corporations as an expert on bankruptcy law. Most notably, in the 1990’s, Warren wrote a legal brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) Steel, a large conglomerate, in order to help LTV avoid paying out pension benefits to 100,000 coal miners. LTV ultimately ceased operations after 2000, but the company still haunts Warren’s political career.
Warren’s work on behalf of LTV first became a major issue in 2012, during her Senate campaign against Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. In a losing effort, Brown hammered Warren’s bankruptcy work, calling her a “hired gun” in a dramatic ad. (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Uses Debate Time To Brag About Taking 100,000 Selfies)
Warren is widely considered one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in the country, and has done legal work on behalf of consumers as well. A New York Times piece from October detailed the senator’s passion for bankruptcy laws, and how she once touted one of now-President Donald Trump’s companies as an example of how the system works. (RELATED: Obama Alums Attack Warren Ahead Of Democratic Debate)
“General Motors, Trump Enterprises, Hershey Foods and dozens of other well-known companies all survived early bankruptcies,” she said in 2009. “Second chances opened the way for Francis Ford Coppola, Willie Nelson and Mark Twain to leave their marks on world cinema, music and literature.”
The bankruptcy system is often used by the megarich to continue business while they write off debts, a strategy that has also been touted by Trump. The president has repeatedly bragged about how he used the bankruptcy system to stave off failure. Trump’s longtime friend and current secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross has been nicknamed the “king of bankruptcy” over the course of his business career for his work acquiring failed companies and profiting from them. Vulture capitalists such as Ross and Paul Singer have enriched themselves through the bankruptcy system, while workers frequently suffer the consequences.
One of the leading candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Warren has sought to be transparent about her past legal work, listing her clients and her salary on her website, and reported having made roughly $2 million from her legal work over the past three decades. The senator’s website reveals that she represented insurance companies, oil companies, chemical companies, and other big conglomerates, but also revealed that she represented consumers and victims of workplace negligence,and claims to have secured a $2.35 billion compensation fund for thousands of women who claimed to have suffered ruptured breast implants from Dow Corning.
Warren has spent decades studying bankruptcy law, and defending the bankruptcy system, and remains all in on defending it.
“Bankruptcy law is about coming up with the fairest outcome possible in a difficult situation and trying to help individuals and businesses get a fresh start,” the senator writes on her website.
Warren’s career as a bankruptcy lawyer perfectly illustrates what an enigma she is, and why some progressives are so frustrated by her. She has spent her life defending both the big guy and the little guy, but has managed to alienate both in the process. (RELATED: Is Elizabeth Warren Too Conservative For Democrats?)
The senator’s recent fumbling of her Medicare for All plan once again has progressives wondering if she is truly on their side, while long-time Democratic donors fret about the possibility that she will sit at the top of the ticket come next summer. The only Democratic presidential candidate to Warren’s left has swiped at her for calling herself a capitalist, implying that she is not the candidate to take on the system she has benefited from.
“I think the situation we face today in this country, of the greed and corruption that is existing in Washington, that is existing in the corporate elite level, we have massive amounts of price fixing going on, we’re they only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people … I think business as usual and doing it the old fashioned way is not good enough,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in October.
Warren’s history of defending corporations will almost certainly be used by her political opponents as yet another example of her hypocrisy and lack of trustworthiness. Just weeks ago, Warren attacked one of her primary opponents, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg for hosting a fundraiser in a wine cave, but it was later revealed that she herself is no stranger to luxurious fundraisers. Warren has decried student debt, but demanded a salary exceeding $400,000 as a professor at Harvard. Not to mention, the senator’s history of grossly embellishing her Native American heritage, something that will surely resurface as a campaign issue as we get closer to the Iowa Caucuses. (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Deletes Tweet Bragging About Native American Heritage)
If Warren is the Democratic nominee, she will surely attack Trump for having catered to the rich, while the president and his allies will likely be quick to remind voters that she has benefited greatly from the system she decries. Warren’s work as a bankruptcy lawyer is yet another example of her flaws as a presidential candidate.