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Consulting firm allows Buttigieg to release names of clients

THOMAS BEAUMONT
Democratic presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign stop at the Danceland Ballroom Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Davenport. (Meg McLaughlin/The Dispatch - The Rock Island Argus via AP)

The McKinsey & Co. consulting firm said Monday that it will allow Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to release the identities of the clients he served when he worked for them a decade ago. It came the same day that he announced he would open his fundraising events to the news media and provide the names of key fundraising organizers.

Together the developments represent an effort to respond to critics who have pummeled Buttigieg for not being forthright about how he raises money and the type of corporate work he conducted more than a decade ago when he was fresh out of college. Buttigieg, now the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is coming under growing scrutiny as his campaign moves into the top tier, especially in Iowa, where voters will usher in the Democratic contest in less than two months.

Buttigieg's campaign manager Mike Schmuhl said, “From the start, Pete has said it is important for every candidate to be open and honest, and his actions have reflected that commitment."

First asking in June, Buttigieg last week requested anew for his former employer to release him from the nondisclosure agreement he signed after working there for three years after graduating from Harvard and Oxford.

Last week, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who trails Buttigieg in Iowa and New Hampshire in presidential primary polls, called on him to disclose his fundraising bundlers, the influential contributors who organize groups of other donors, and to open his fundraisers to the public.

Warren also said Buttigieg's work at McKinsey could reveal conflicts of interest.

On Friday, Buttigieg released a summary of the work he did at the consulting firm, the most detailed look he had given so far of his time at the company.

McKinsey's statement on Monday said Buttigieg “may disclose the identity of the clients he served while at McKinsey from 2007 to 2010,” with the proviso he not “disclose confidential, proprietary of classified information obtained during the course of that work, or violate any security clearance.”

Buttigieg did travel to Iraq and Afghanistan and for McKinsey during his time with the firm.

Buttigieg said Friday that his time at McKinsey involved working in small groups on monthslong assignments, completing studies for clients.

“The bulk of my work on these teams consisted of doing mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations," Buttigieg wrote. “I never worked on a project inconsistent with my values, and if asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate.

The Buttigieg campaign released the names of about two dozen fundraising bundlers for the first quarter in April but hasn’t since then. Buttigieg said Friday in Iowa that he would consider releasing more and opening his fundraisers to the media.

Urged by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a presidential forum in Iowa on Friday to break the nondisclosure agreement as President Donald Trump seeks to conceal his keep his financial information, Buttigieg said, “I am asking my former employer to do the right thing, to not make me choose between claiming the moral high ground and going back on my word."

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Associated Press writer Hunter Woodall in Manchester, N.H., contributed to this report.