Scott Brown pushes Elizabeth Warren on Native American issue

at 01:19 PM ET, 05/08/2012

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is calling on Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic challenger, to release all her past job applications and personnel records in order to settle her Native American heritage.

“Serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of Elizabeth Warren's claims to Native American ancestry and whether it was appropriate for her to assume minority status as a college professor,” Brown said in a statement. “Her changing stories, contradictions and refusal to answer legitimate questions have cast doubt on her credibility and called into question the diversity practices at Harvard.”

Brown added that to clear up any confusion Warren should “authorize the release of her law school applications and all personnel files from the various universities where she has taught.”

The latest move is part of an ongoing attempt by his campaign to suggest that she used her Native American heritage for career advancement. Until now, Brown has mostly stayed on the sidelines on the issue while his campaign and the Massachusetts Republican Party attacked Warren.


Scott Brown wades into the Native American fight. (Melina Mara - THE WASHINGTON POST)
Late last month, the Boston Herald reported that Harvard Law School touted Warren in the 1990s as a Native American professor, and for nine years she listed herself as a minority in professional law directories. Warren says being part Cherokee was part of her family lore; a genealogist found that she appears to be 1/32 Cherokee. Brown’s campaign manager argued that she was participating in a “hypocritical sham” to boost Harvard’s diversity record.

In calling for Warren to release documents relating to her professional past, Brown points out that he has released his own unredacted records from three decades of service in the National Guard. “As candidates for high public office, we have a duty to be transparent and open and not hide behind a wall of silence in the midst of public controversy,” he writes.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Matt Canter said Brown’s challenge shows “how personally desperate he is to avoid the real issues in this race.”

While this seems like a somewhat transparent ploy by Brown to keep the issue in the news, Warren has struggled to put this story to rest — raising questions about her ability to compete with the senator. Officials from every law school where she has taught came forward to say that race had nothing to do with her hiring, and she said she listed herself as a minority to meet people, not to get ahead. But her own responses have been somewhat confusing and convoluted, leaving an opening for Brown’s campaign.

 
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