Scott Brown Challenges Elizabeth Warren's Native-American Ancestry
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown issued a statement today calling on Elizabeth Warren - his likely Democratic opponent in the hotly contested Massachusetts Senate race - to release her law school applications in response to the questions about the recent revelations that she self-identified as Native American based on her tenuous Cherokee bloodline.
"Serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of Elizabeth Warren's claims to Native American ancestry and whether it was appropriate for her to assume minority status as a college professor," the statement said.
"The best way to satisfy these questions is for Elizabeth Warren to authorize the release of her law school applications and all personnel files from the various universities where she has taught."
Warren has faced questions about reportedly listing herself as a minority in law school directories in the 1980s and 90s since the allegations emerged two weeks ago. Chris Childs, a genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, traced Warren's Native-American roots to her great-great-great-grandmother, who was listed as Cherokee on an 1894 marriage record.
Warren, 62, released a statement through spokeswoman Alethea Harney saying that Brown was attempting to "divert attention" from his voting record.
"Once again, Republican Senator Brown is shamelessly attempting to divert attention from his record on the issues that really matter in this election, like the cost of student loans," Harney said. "Minutes after Scott Brown voted with his Republican Party to double interest rates on student loans, he ridiculously attacked Elizabeth Warren with questions that have already been answered."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which oversees Democratic Senate races, released a similar statement.
"At the exact same moment that Scott Brown was voting with his fellow Republicans to block low interest college loans for Massachusetts students, Brown shamelessly resorts to tired personal attacks aimed to distract voters" said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter. "Brown's latest bait-and-switch illustrates just how personally desperate he is to avoid the real issues in this race - like making college more affordable, protecting Medicare, holding Wall Street accountable - because on the issues that matter most to voters Scott Brown sides with Republicans and special interests and against the middle class."
Since the story broke, several of Warren's past employers have come forward to say that their hiring decision was not influenced by her minority status. Nevertheless, the cries from her opponents to further investigate the matter have continued.
Robert Maginn, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, called on Harvard University, where Warren teaches law, to investigate Warren's claims.
"Harvard must investigate Ms. Warren's false claims to be a minority; how it came to pass that Harvard accepted these claims; and the extent to which Ms. Warren's alleged minority status afforded her advantages to which she would not otherwise have been entitled," Maginn said in a letter to Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust.
Harvard University has not issued a direct response to Maginn's request. In an email to ABC News, a law school representative pointed to a statement from Charles Fried, the Harvard Law School professor who hired Warren.
"In spite of conclusive evidence to the contrary, the story continues to circulate that Elizabeth Warren enjoyed some kind of affirmative action leg-up in her hiring as a full professor by the Harvard Law School. The innuendo is false," Fried said.
"I was a member of the appointments committee that conducted that review and presented her case to the faculty. I can state categorically that the subject of her Native-American ancestry never once was mentioned."
Polling shows the two candidates neck and neck six months out from Election Day.