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Elizabeth Warren made $1.9 million for legal work over 30 years

Pete Buttigieg surges in latest CNN poll

Elizabeth Warren disclosed details Sunday about $1.9 million in compensation she received for legal work dating back to 1987, based on her expertise in bankruptcy law.

Although the disclosures date back to 1985, the campaign provided Warren's compensation from only one case before 1995, for about $30,000. Over the subsequent 14 years, while working as a law professor at Harvard and writing over a half dozen books, Warren averaged about $136,000 a year in compensation from her legal work. The disclosures indicate that she made most of her legal compensation as an expert witness — over $800,000. Her campaign released compensation amounts from over 30 cases and said she was not compensated for a dozen of them. Warren's campaign says it has "no compensation records" for another five cases.  

Warren had previously released a list of over 50 cases she worked on, as well as her tax returns dating back to 2008, but in the past few weeks, she has come under increased pressure to release more information on her private sector work, as she and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg traded blows over the other's alleged lack of transparency. He has repeatedly called for her to release more tax returns, and she has called for him to release his list of clients from his consulting work at McKinsey & Company and to open his frequent fundraising events to the press.

Warren's legal work for corporations has been used against her since her run for Senate against Scott Brown in 2012, when the then-senator ran an ad calling her a "hired gun" who worked for "yet another big corporation against working people." The ad referenced Warren's work in 1995 on behalf of LTV Steel, which in bankruptcy sought not to contribute to a retired coal miner health care fund. The campaign disclosed on Sunday that LTV Steel paid Warren just under $19,000 as counsel for LTV Steel. Warren also earned about $100,000 from consulting on a separate case involving LTV Corp.'s bankruptcy restrictions three years later. 

In a statement, Warren communications director Kristen Orthman made clear this release was meant to contrast Warren's transparency with Buttigieg's, although she didn't explicitly name the South Bend mayor.

"If Democrats are going to defeat Donald Trump, or whoever the Republican Party might replace him with, we must nominate a candidate who can create the most robust possible contrast against Republicans on conflicts of interest and corruption issues," Orthman said. "Elizabeth does not sell access to her time — no closed door big dollar fundraisers, no bundling program, no perks or promises to any wealthy donor."

Warren and Buttigieg have been pushing one another harder over the past few weeks, and he first attacked her directly for not releasing more financial records before Thanksgiving. 

Warren had taken aim at Buttigieg's three years of consulting work at McKinsey — on Friday he released descriptions of projects he worked on at the firm and called on the company to release him from a nondisclosure agreement — but she has more recently zeroed in on the mayor's frequent closed-door fundraising events.  Asked by CBS News on Saturday whether she would release more tax returns if Buttigieg opened up his fundraisers to the press, Warren said, "What I'm particularly concerned about are the conflicts being created every single day when candidates for president sell access to their time to highest bidder.… This is not about what happened 15 years ago or 20 years ago. It's about the conflicts he's creating right now."

Buttigieg senior adviser Lis Smith tweeted in response to Warren's answer Saturday that Warren was a "corporate lawyer" and should "open up the doors to the decades of tax returns she's hiding."

With Sunday's disclosure, the Warren campaign argued that Warren's tax returns would not provide any more clarity about her legal work because they don't itemize her sources of income.

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