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Warren owns millions in mutual funds

Democratic US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said on MSNBC last night that she “does not have a lot of stock portfolios,” but her public filings show she has significant holdings in multiple mutual funds.

Warren and her husband own between $100,001 and $250,000 of IBM Stock and between $2.8 million and $7.9 million in a variety of TIAA-CREF funds, according to her financial disclosure form filed last month.

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Warren’s spokesman, Kyle Sullivan, said Warren was referring to stock in individual companies, which could be bought and sold freely. Warren’s sole individual stock is in IBM, which she has held for decades, he said.

Republicans have tried to make Warren’s wealth an issue in the campaign in hopes of blunting her central message, that she’s a warrior on behalf of the middle class. She is the likely Democratic nominee to challenge Republican Senator Scott Brown, who also holds considerable assets.

Warren was speaking on MSNBC last night with interviewer Lawrence O’Donnell about her support for Brown’s proposal to ban insider trading among congressmen. She was responding to O’Donnell’s suggestion that the law go further -- to ban those in Congress from owning any stock at all.

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“Either don’t own it or put it in a blind trust where someone else manages it and you literally can’t see what’s in there,” Warren said. “I realize there are some wealthy individuals – I’m not one of them – but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios, but you’re exactly right. I don’t understand how people can be out there in the House, in the Senate, and they get inside information and they’re making critical decisions. We need to feel like they’re making those decisions on our behalf, not as an investor who would do better if the law goes this way instead of that way. I agree.”

Sullivan said this afternoon that “Elizabeth was making the point that unlike many members of Congress, she does not have a broad portfolio of stocks in individual companies.”

“If elected she’ll get rid of the one stock she does own,” he added.

Brown came under fire over the weekend for downplaying his own wealth and for suggesting, in an interview with the Lowell Sun, that police officers, firefighters, and nurses could be hurt by a proposal to increase taxes on those earning over $250,000.

Brown also owned bank stock while he worked on the financial overhaul bill in 2010.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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