The chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party has laid out a stinging indictment of Elizabeth Warren, saying Senator Scott Brown’s projected Democratic opponent in this fall’s election appears to have perpetrated academic fraud on Harvard University.
Robert Maginn, in a three-page letter Sunday to Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust, said Warren may have deceived the school that hired her to teach law by unjustly claiming Native American heritage. The chairman demanded an investigation.
Warren has cited family lore, and a genealogist has outlined a connection that would make her 1/32 Native American, but Harvard and the other law schools that previously employed her said the professor’s heritage was not a factor in her hiring.
“The problem is that Ms. Warren is not a Native American. She is Caucasian,’’ said Maginn, himself a Harvard graduate. “Despite her insistence that she is an American Indian based upon ‘family lore’ and her observation that some in her family had ‘high cheekbones like all the Indians do,’ she has failed to produce a single shred of evidence to substantiate her claim.’’
Maginn added: “Failing a thorough investigation, Ms. Warren’s actions will make a mockery of Harvard’s eloquently expressed commitment to diversity.’’
Maginn also suggested Harvard itself may have some legal or ethical exposure in the case.
“Among the obvious questions that are likely to arise is, did Harvard use factually inaccurate diversity data to make compensation-based decisions or to satisfy government applications for research funding?’’ the chairman wrote.
Messages left for two Harvard representatives Sunday night were not immediately returned.
The letter amounted to a recounting of allegations made in the media and propelled by Brown’s own campaign for more than a week.
Although Brown has cast himself as a passive observer of the allegations against Warren, his reelection campaign apparatus and now the chairman of his political party have relentlessly sought to perpetuate the story.
Maginn was supported for the chairman’s post last year by Brown and Mitt Romney, the former governor and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Maginn’s company, Jenzabar Inc., held a political fund-raiser for Brown in January, and the chairman also hosted Brown, his aides, and family members in a suite at Gillette Stadium for a playoff game this season.
The Warren campaign refused to make any direct comment Sunday night, except to refer the Globe to statements previously made by the dean of Harvard Law School when Warren was hired, and professor Charles Fried, who was pivotal to Warren’s recruitment.
Former dean Robert C. Clark said: “When the Harvard Law School faculty voted in the early 1990s to make Elizabeth Warren an offer of a tenured professorship at our school, the decision was based on three factors: our goal of adding a top-notch academic expert in debtor-creditor law to the regular faculty; her excellent scholarship in that field; and her fabulous success as a teacher. Her Native American heritage was not a factor in the discussion or the decision.’’
Fried, the former solicitor general in the Reagan administration, told the Globe last week that suggesting Warren got her job because she claimed minority status was “totally stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and simply wrong.’’Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.