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Elizabeth Warren controversy: Drip, drip, drip

at 01:35 PM ET, 05/25/2012

The Elizabeth Warren controversy is becoming the controversy that won’t die.


Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren faces reporters during a May 2 news conference, where she addressed questions on her claim of Native American heritage. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The Boston Globe this morning reported that Harvard University listed the Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate as a Native American for six years in its federal diversity statistics — the latest example of Warren having been labeled a minority by the school.

The difference with this case, though, is that the Globe reports that such designations are almost always based on how an employee identified him or herself. Warren has said that she didn’t know how the school came to identify her as such. Though she had previously described herself as a Native American in law school directories, she stopped doing so around the time Harvard hired her in the mid-1990s.

Further, Alan Ray, who was in charge of the diversity report, said he “did not encourage the Law School to list any faculty member as one particular race or ethnicity, including Professor Warren,” and that he “always accepted whatever identification a faculty member wanted to provide.”

The Globe report also states that Warren’s claim to being 1/32nd Cherokee doesn’t meet the guidelines set forth by either Harvard or the federal diversity report for minority status. That raises questions about not only whether Warren herself claimed the status, but also how appropriate it was to label her as such.

The latest news continues what has been a steady drip of revelations when it comes to Warren’s claims of Native American heritage — a claim that she stands by but says wasn’t meant to give her any kind of preferential treatment.

Her opponent, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), again reiterated his call for Warren to come clean.

“This Native American controversy is a problem of Elizabeth Warren’s own making,” Brown said in a statement. “She falsely described herself as a minority and some of the schools where she worked relied on that information to misrepresent the diversity of their faculty.

“I call on Harvard President [Drew] Faust to immediately correct the record with the relevant federal agencies and uphold Harvard’s 400-year-old tradition of abiding by the truth.”

Her campaign didn’t directly address the Globe’s findings in that story, and a spokeswoman said it would be providing further response today.

The campaign has tried desperately to change the subject for weeks and blamed Brown for fomenting the story, arguing that they’ve answered all the questions and that Massachusetts voters care more about the economy.

But the latest report confirms that the media in that state is continuing to dig and find things, and that means that the issue isn’t likely to be put to rest for some time.

 
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