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Elizabeth Warren Paid $90K As Expert Witness in Trade Case

Image: Elizabeth Warren Paid $90K As Expert Witness in Trade Case
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By    |   Friday, 22 May 2015 10:24 AM

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who uses investor-state dispute settlement concerns to push back against President Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific trade deal, was paid $90,000 as a witness in a 2000 North American Free Trade Agreement-prompted ISDS case, Politico reports.

Describing ISDS rulings as "rigged, pseudo-courts," in a Washington Post op-ed published in February, the Massachusetts Democrat said that investor-dispute provisions "would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big national corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty."

The dispute settlement program "would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court," Warren added.

Her seeming change of heart after profiting from her $200 to $400 per hour testimony, has not gone unnoticed, said Andrea Bjorklund, who was at the time, an attorney working on the case before the State Department, Politico said.

"She was paid and took money to be an expert for the U.S. government, and did not appear to have any qualms about participating in this process that she now finds appalling," Bjorklund told Politico.

Others, including Warren's spokeswoman, pushed back on criticism.

"Fifteen years ago, when a big company used ISDS to sue the United States in an attempt to undermine the American justice system and the rule of law, Senator Warren helped the government in its successful effort to defeat the case," spokeswoman Lacey Rose said in a statement that she emailed Politico. "Senator Warren opposes ISDS in trade treaties for the same reasons that were so clearly demonstrated in that case — because it tilts the playing field toward big companies, and undermines the American justice system and the rule of law."

Warren, who proposed an amendment to the fast-track trade deal, testified against the ISDS provision in the legislation on Tuesday, the Daily Kos reported.

She noted that "ISDS is a major part of the reason why, no matter what promises are made, huge trade deals often just tilt the playing field further in favor of big multinational corporations."

Warren added: "If a country wants to adopt strong new protections for workers, such as an increase in the minimum wage, a corporation can use these corporate-friendly panels to seek millions--or billions--in taxpayer compensation because the new rules might eat into the company's profits … Experts from every place on the political spectrum have concluded that it is unfair, it undermines the rule of law, it threatens American sovereignty, and it creates an end-run around the democratic process."

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who uses investor-state dispute settlement concerns to push back against President Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific trade deal, was paid $90,000 as a witness in a 2000 North American Free Trade Agreement-prompted ISDS case, Politico reports.
Elizabeth Warren, 90, 000, witness, trade
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2015-24-22
Friday, 22 May 2015 10:24 AM
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