Brown Hammers Warren on Legal Work for Steel Company

Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) hits challenger Elizabeth Warren over her legal work on behalf of LTV Steel in the 1990s in a new web video released Tuesday.

The Boston Globe reported on Warren's work on behalf of the company last week:

Warren also helped write a petition to the US Supreme Court for LTV Steel in the 1990s, assisting the former industrial conglomerate in its fight against a congressional requirement that it pay millions of dollars into a fund for its retired coal miners’ health care.

Her advocacy on behalf of a large corporation, opposing a mandate to pay for the health benefits of blue-collar retirees and their families, would seem to undercut her image as a middle-class champion, the central message of the Democrat’s Senate campaign against Brown, the Republican.

But Warren’s campaign argues that the retirees’ benefits were not in danger, even if LTV had won its legal battle. And it argues that she was fighting for a principle that could protect less powerful people who have claims against bankrupt companies. Warren had a small role, the campaign said, making about $10,000 to write a Supreme Court petition. Warren, through her campaign, declined an interview request.

Full transcript of the ad:

VIDEO TEXT: Professor Elizabeth Warren…

ELIZABETH WARREN: I think the real question is, whose side do you stand on?

VIDEO TEXT: In the 1990s

REPORTER: In the 1990s, Warren did legal work for LTV Steel, which was fighting a requirement to pay millions into a health care fund for retired coal miners.

REPORTER: This case is problematic, and I think it’s problematic despite their argument that they were establishing a precedent in this one. Two, just cause no one has commented in her defense. Clinton administration, the other side, head of the mine workers’ union on the other side, the lawyers representing the retirees at the mines.

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER: When it comes to retired coal miners with an average age of 77 years old, in West Virginia and in all 50 states in this country and taking away their health benefits, to me that crosses the line.

VIDEO TEXT: Fighting For ‘The Little Guy’?

REPORTER: Speaking of brutal, watching Elizabeth Warren in the press conference she held behind me this afternoon, try to explain away the recent story about her legal work on behalf of a coal mining company.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Look, at the end of the day, what this is really about is about whose side you stand on.

REPORTER: Then, this morning, front page Globe papers, this LTV Steel thing, where the company where she represented was fighting against the congressional requirement that these firms pay millions in a fund for retired coal miners. It’s making it harder and harder for her to claim that she is the person for the middle class.

ELIZABETH WARREN: LTV showed how you could lock up all the assets so that essentially the company could say, "We’re broke!" "The cupboard’s bare." "There’s nothing here." And breach all the promises then to the employees and retirees.

FORMER LTV EMPLOYEE: After 34 years with LTV Steel, I was forced to retire because of a disability. Two years later, LTV filed bankruptcy. I lost a third of my pension, and my family lost their healthcare. Every day of my life I sit at the kitchen table, across from the woman who devoted 36 years of her life to my family, and I can’t afford to pay for her health care.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Once again, is whose side do you stand on?

VIDEO TEXT: Professor Elizabeth Warren: NOT On The Side Of The People.