Multimillionaire Elizabeth Warren: I'm not wealthy

Actually, I don’t think that’s what she’s saying here but that headline is simply too sweet to resist. (That was HuffPo’s original headline too before they changed it.) The quote from BuzzFeed:

ā€œI realize there are some wealthy individuals ā€“ Iā€™m not one of them, but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios” she told [Lawrence O’Donnell].

Hard to see how Warren wouldn’t be, by most standards, wealthy, according to the Personal Financial Disclosure form she filed to run for Senate shows that she’s worth as much as $14.5 million. She earned more than $429,000 from Harvard last year alone for a total of about $700,000, and lives in a house worth $5 million.

She also has a portfolio of investments in stocks and bonds worth as as much as $8 million, according to the form, which lists value ranges for each investment. The bulk of it is in funds managed by TIAA-CREF.

Here’s her financial disclosure form, which is brimming with TIAA-CREF mutual funds plus IBM stock valued somewhere between $100,000 and $250,000. The confusion comes when she says “I’m not one of them.” It sounds like she means “I’m not wealthy,” but all she actually means, I think, is “I don’t have a big stock portfolio.” Which is kinda sorta true: She’s got a hefty mutual-fund portfolio, but shares in a fund are different from shares in a company because the investment’s being managed by someone else and it’s spread out among hundreds or thousands of holdings. That’s not an insuperable obstacle to insider trading as a congressman — if you own a fund that invests in a single industry, legislation to benefit that industry as a whole will pay off — but it makes things more difficult. (A lawyer friend tells me that he’s allowed to invest in mutual funds at his firm but, for conflict-of-interest purposes, has to get approval for investments in individual corporations.) Her IBM shares are obviously a problem, but does that constitute a big investment in stock? Remember, for comparison purposes, we’re talking about a Congress here where bigwigs like Pelosi lay down $2 million on can’t-miss IPOs (via their spouses, of course).

Follow the BuzzFeed link and scroll down and you’ll see that Warren’s spokesman is framing her comments this way too. But who knows? Maybe I’m wrong and she really was moronically trying to insist that she’s part of “the 99 percent” despite her many, many millions in assets. That would fit with the Democratic narrative of things you can never be if you’re a liberal: Racist, “out of touch,” uncivil, rich. If that’s what she was trying to say, though, then she’s missing an opportunity. This pitch is more effective in Massachusetts coming from a would-be benevolent rich philosopher-king who wants to help the poor than as some sort of blue-collar “just folks” type who so happens to teach at Harvard. Ask the Kennedys.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy