Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has a well-documented history of working for the benefit of the big corporations she routinely rails against, largely building her multimillion-dollar fortune by assisting corporations in navigating the bankruptcy laws she helped pen, Breitbart News senior contributor, bestselling author, and Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer reveals in his investigative bombshell Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite.
Because of her legal expertise on bankruptcy laws, Warren advised the National Bankruptcy Review Commission in 1995, acting as a “key advisor on an obscure but profoundly important section of the bankruptcy law called U.S.C. 524(g), which dealt with mass tort bankruptcies of corporations and had to do specifically with asbestos companies.” She would go on to advise companies facing such troubles and financially benefit from their legal woes. She made $212,000 by assisting insurance giant Travelers, which sought immunity from asbestos-related lawsuits, alone.
The revisions to the laws she helped author “had enormous positive ramifications for America’s largest corporations,” allowing “financially healthy corporations to start using bankruptcies as a way to avoid liability from legal suits,” Profiles in Corruption details.
Warren parlayed her experience in crafting U.S. bankruptcy laws into a highly lucrative career by consulting corporations on the laws she helped write and charging them large sums of money for her services.
“It was the ultimate Washington leverage move,” Schweizer writes.
“Warren’s legal consulting work radically contradicts the claims she makes that she is a fighter for the middle class and against corporate America,” Schweizer explains. “Indeed, she was well compensated for more than a decade providing legal testimony for corporations attempting to avoid pension obligations and paying victims.”
Warren leveraged her legal expertise in corporate bankruptcy law by advising companies like Dow Chemical, Travelers, and LTV Steel — all of which were seeking bankruptcies to avoid liabilities from pensions or lawsuits:
Indeed, of the known cases where she did legal consulting, her work on a number of those cases was on behalf of major corporations. Each of these companies was facing major liability involving pensions or class-action lawsuits, which she helped them avoid. She was extremely well compensated. In a legal brief, she described her “customary billing rate” as $700 per hour back in 2002. Today in 2019, that equates to about $996 per hour.
One of the cases demonstrating the stunning gap between Warren’s campaign trail rhetoric and reality involved her work with corporations that were “seeking release from a law that required them to pay health benefits to coal miners.” LTV Steel, one of her clients, was attempting to “overturn a court ruling that required the company to pay its former employees and dependents $140 million in retirement benefits”:
LTV was trying to avoid its responsibilities under the 1992 Coal Act, which established a fund to pay retired coal workers. The appellate court sided against Warren’s clients, and Warren filed a brief with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the decision. The Supreme Court never took up the case.
Warren made $10,000 for her efforts, later contending that she was simply standing up for “bankruptcy principles.”
“Congress [wrote] the rules, and the rules say the employees don’t come first,” she stated in a 2006 interview with PBS, ignoring the fact that she helped write the very rules she was lamenting.
Her advocacy for LTV contradicts the claims she makes on the campaign trail and incorporates in her various plans. In one plan released last year, Warren boasts of fighting “for years to protect pensions and health benefits for retired coal workers.”
Despite her efforts to distance herself from large corporations publicly, she continued assisting them in navigating the very laws she helped to write.
In another example, Schweizer details her legal work for the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation (FAC), which produced small aircraft. Investors, Schweizer notes, purchased the corporation after it went into bankruptcy in 1990 and started Fairchild Acquisition Incorporated (FAI). However, in 1995, a suit arose from “the families, estates, and/or businesses of four people who had died tragically in a plane crash.” The victims’ families attributed the crash to an aircraft “defectively manufactured by FAC.”
Warren argued on behalf of FAC, but “the bankruptcy court rejected her legal theory.”
She was compensated nearly $10,000 for her efforts.
Warren defended her decision to defend FAC from the lawsuit, claiming that she did so to “save jobs.” That assertion, as Schweizer points out, did not reflect reality:
Warren claims that her motive in defending the company was to save jobs. In fact, though, the company hired her to protect their assets, not jobs. Their worry was that the case would affect future claims that others might have against them. In addition, there is no evidence to indicate that the suit would result in lost jobs. Instead, she essentially argued that these families did not have legal recourse against these companies.
The Massachusetts senator’s work for Dow Chemical is perhaps more well-known. She “provided expert legal advice” to the chemical company, the parent company of Dow Corning, which faced a flurry of lawsuits from women in 1990s, who claimed that its silicone breast implants made them ill. It filed for bankruptcy thereafter. Warren, in essence, assisted the company in “fighting in court to limit its liability and payments to women,” one lawyer involved in the case stated. She made just short of $20,000 for her consulting work on the case.
“So Dow Chemical hired her, Armstrong Worldwide — there’s a whole host of companies that did. And it’s the oldest game in Washington. You know, come to me powerful company, pay me lots of money, and I will help you interpret and get around a law that I myself actually wrote,” Schweizer explained on Wednesday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily.
“And so she’s made millions of dollars doing that for corporations and she — by the way, in these cases or in these instances — represents the corporation,” he continued. “She doesn’t represent the victims. You know with Dow Chemical it was women with breast implants. And the problems being caused there.”
Warren also made money in assisting companies facing asbestos liabilities, defending insurance giant Travelers against the claims of asbestos victims in 2009:
Travelers was fighting to gain immunity from some asbestos-related lawsuits by establishing a $500 million trust for victims, but on the precondition “that other insurers [would] give up their claims against Travelers.” Warren worked to protect the settlement for victims that other insurance companies would invalidate if they were able to retain their claims. Travelers avoided paying the $500 million settlement by losing the fight with the other insurers.
She ultimately made $212,000 for her services to Travelers. The insurance giant also paid her husband, who also completed legal work on the case, an “undisclosed sum,” per the couple’s 2009 financial disclosure.
Similarly, Warren consulted Armstrong World Industries, “a massive producer of wall and ceiling products for construction, which was also dealing with asbestos liabilities” and “helped them navigate rule 524(g), which she had helped to write.”
More often than not, “Warren’s legal consulting work was on behalf of large corporations who were using bankruptcy laws or bankruptcy trusts to avoid liabilities.” The bulk of her consulting work came from Caplin & Drysdale, “which represented a myriad of large companies that were going through bankruptcies,” Schweizer points out.
By 2012, Warren had a net worth of up to $14.5 million. Despite that, she continued to distance herself from the wealthy elite, denying her status as a one-percenter.
“I realize there are some wealthy individuals – I’m not one of them,” the then-Senate candidate, and owner of a $5 million house, stated on MSNBC in 2012.
She maintained that position all the way through her first senatorial bid.
“I’ve been out there working for people who’ve been injured by big corporations. I’ve been out there working for people who’ve been injured by asbestos. I’ve been doing that for years and years and years,” Warren claimed during a debate against then-incumbent Republican Scott Brown (R-MA) that same year.
“That’s why I want to go to Washington. I want to go to Washington to fight for working families,” she continued. “I want to go to Washington to fight for small businesses.”
Warren has carried her “pro-working class” rhetoric to her presidential campaign, calling for Democrats to show that “we’re not going to be the people who are just out for the big corporations, people who want to help themselves, that we are going to be the party that is willing to fight on the side of the people” during the Democrat presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, this year.
Warren’s legal consulting career, however, would seem to contradict her campaign rhetoric.
Schweizer’s book, Profiles in Corruption, is available for online purchase in hardcover, paperback, or e-book.
Author: Hannah Bleau