Senator Scott Brown, who has criticized Elizabeth Warren over her work on behalf of Travelers Insurance, quietly returned $7,000 to the company’s political action committee last month, according to newly released finance records.
The campaign returned the money on Sept. 10, 10 days before Brown began a concerted effort to attack Warren over her work on behalf of the company, during the candidates’ first debate. Brown, a Republican, has since launched advertisements about the case that say that Warren, a Democrat, was working against the interest of asbestos victims.
Warren, a Harvard bankruptcy specialist, was paid $212,000 by Travelers from 2008 to 2010, helping Travelers in a Supreme Court case in which it was trying to win immunity from asbestos-related cases in exchange for a $500 million settlement, to be divided among current and future claimants.
Travelers won the immunity. But after a series of legal twists, the company avoided paying the $500 million settlement. Warren was no longer involved at that point, but Brown argues she should have foreseen that potential result.
Though some victims opposed the settlement, most were on Warren’s side when she worked on the Supreme Court case.
The biggest opponent of the settlement was Chubb Insurance, which was concerned that immunity for Travelers would prevent Travelers from sharing liability with Chubb in the event Chubb was sued by asbestos victims.
Records show that Chubb’s PAC donated at least $4,500 to Brown over the past two years. A Chubb employee also donated $250 to Warren, records show.
Records also show Brown has received $6,000 in contributions from Dow Chemical Company Employees PAC over the past two years. The senator has also criticized Warren’s legal work for Dow in the 1990s.
Brown’s campaign did not respond to questions about the returned Travelers PAC donation or the Chubb donation.Staff writer Matt Carroll contributed to this article. Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.