Elizabeth Warren has gained notoriety recently for complaining that the minimum wage would be $22 per hour if it kept up with worker productivity gains over the past several decades.

Warren’s analysis was fundamentally flawed because it did not measure increased productivity of minimum wage unskilled workers or justify paying $45,000 per year as a minimum regardless of worker skills. Moreover, Warren cherry-picked the $22 number, ignoring other much lower numbers in the study on which she relied based on other measurements.

But it was a YouTube and media hit, and has solidified Warren’s role as progressive champion, particularly when Warren asked “what happened to the other $13.75?”

If the minimum wage was so important to Warren, we wondered what she paid her interns.

The abuse of interns by powerful corporations like The NY Times is well documented, and the subject of controversy by student and worker advocates who argue that such internships in the private sector may violate wage laws. Even if done in compliance with legal guidelines, unpaid internships take advantage of unequal bargaining power in a weak job market.

Warren actively is seeking interns for her Senate offices.

Elizabeth Warren Senate Web Page Internships 4-11-2013

We checked today with Warren’s Senate office, and were told that “all internships are unpaid.” When asked whether they had any paid internships, the office responded “we do not.”

Warren is not alone. Unpaid internships in Congress are the norm and appear to be legal because that’s the way Congress wrote the law.

We also researched internships Warren’s Senate campaign offered. Warren’s campaign made very effective use of “internships” as a lure to get students to work on campuses and elsewhere for the campaign. The internships were both part and full time and were unpaid.

Elizabeth Warren Campaign Intern Flyer1

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Elizabeth Warren Campaign Intern Flyer2

I don’t blame Warren for making liberal use of students hammered by a bad job market, even though she raised over $40 million. Nobody built a campaign on their own. Nobody.

The use of unpaid interns does, however, raise questions whether Warren’s rhetoric meets her reality considering she so publicly has lambasted private sector employers for not paying $22 per hour. Warren could have gone above and beyond what the law required.

These are just some facts to consider the next time Warren rips into some business person for not paying employees enough.

Update – Aleister writes, Brother Of Rich Senator Elizabeth Warren Lives On $13,200 Per Year (via Instapundit).