The elite consulting firm McKinsey & Company has informed Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg he can name the clients he worked for during his three years at the company.
The news comes days after Buttigieg released a timeline of his years working for the firm from 2007 to 2010 following calls from some of his presidential opponents to be more transparent. The calls came after reports about McKinsey’s work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement on projects along the US-Mexico border.
Buttigieg had said a nondisclosure agreement prevents him from naming his clients.
A McKinsey spokesman said Monday that the nondisclosure agreement remains intact, but the mayor “may disclose the identity of the clients he served while at McKinsey from 2007 to 2010.”
“When clients come to McKinsey, they expect impartiality and expertise rendered on a confidential basis. … Confidentiality agreements therefore play an important role in the work of professional services firms like ours, which depend on fundamental trust with clients,” the spokesman said. “At the same time, we recognize the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign.”
The spokesman added: “After receiving permission from the relevant clients, we have informed Mr. Buttigieg that he may disclose the identity of the clients he served while at McKinsey from 2007 to 2010. Any description of his work for those clients still must not disclose confidential, proprietary or classified information obtained during the course of that work, or violate any security clearance.”
Buttigieg said last week that his work at McKinsey included a nonprofit health insurance provider in Michigan, a grocery and retail chain in Toronto, a consumer goods retail chain in Chicago, a project on energy efficiency and climate change in Connecticut and an environmental nonprofit in California.
“To the best of my recollection, these are all of my client engagements during my time with the firm, but a full release from McKinsey will allow the American public to see the full scope of my work,” Buttigieg said in the statement.
And the spokesman for McKinsey backed up the mayor’s claim, stating, “We can further confirm that the clients Mr. Buttigieg described in his statement on Friday, December 6 are all of the clients he served during his time at McKinsey.”
Lis Smith, Buttigieg’s spokeswoman, said in response to McKinsey that the mayor will release his list of clients “soon.”
“And in this instance, @PeteButtigieg is being transparent about his private sector work AND keeping his word- two things you will never hear said about our current President,” Smith tweeted.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the primary Democratic opponent who called on Buttigieg to release his list of clients, telling reporters in Boston, “I think that voters want to know about possible conflicts of interests.”
The New York Times also published an editorial on the presidential candidate to release his clients.
According to the campaign’s earlier release, Buttigieg served a nonprofit health insurance provider for three months, focusing on on-the-job training for savings in administration and overhead costs. In 2008, he worked in consumer goods – focused on grocery pricing for a client in Toronto and helping a consumer goods store in Chicago investigating the market for energy-efficient home products – before taking a leave of absence from the firm to work on a Democratic campaign for Indiana governor.
Buttigieg spent part of 2009 working out of Washington with visits to Iraq and Afghanistan on a project “focused on increasing employment and entrepreneurship in those countries’ economies.” He would later return to Afghanistan as part of a deployment with the Navy Reserve in 2014.
The release comes on the same day that the mayor announced he would be allowing press into all of his future fundraisers – something he had not done to date – and releasing his list of top fundraisers for the campaign.