McKinsey gives Buttigieg permission to disclose clients

Buttigieg had signed a nondisclosure agreement that prevented him from naming his McKinsey clients.

Pete Buttigieg's Democratic presidential campaign said it would release the client list from his nearly three-year stint at McKinsey & Company after the famously secret consulting firm gave him permission to do so.

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"We recognize the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign," a McKinsey spokesperson said in a statement. "After receiving permission from the relevant clients, we have informed Mayor Buttigieg that he may disclose the identity of the clients he served while at McKinsey from 2007 to 2010."

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Late last week, Buttigieg — after he asked McKinsey to release him from a nondisclosure agreement that prevented him from naming his clients as an employee between 2007 and 2010 — published a timeline of his work at McKinsey, though he stopped short of identifying specific clients. The experience included working for a nonprofit health insurance provider, a grocery and retail chain and work on renewable energy issues, involving the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

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The news comes amid growing pressure, including from 2020 rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for the mayor of South Bend, Indiana to be more transparent as he ascends polls in several early-voting states. Buttigieg’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about when it plans to release the client list.

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the Iowa Farmers Union Presidential Forum, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in Grinnell, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

"I think that voters want to know about possible conflicts of interest," Warren said last week.

McKinsey has garnered criticism amid reports that it’s worked with organizations antithetical to liberal values, with past clients including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Purdue Pharma, the company accused of fanning the flames of the opioid crisis, and authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

But Buttigieg has tried to distance himself from McKinsey and has said the company has changed from the one he knew, but said he "never worked on a project inconsistent with my value."

"If asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate," he said.

Warren also urged Buttigieg to open his closed-door fundraisers to reporters.

Buttigieg's campaign responded on Monday and said it would give reporters access starting this week and vowed to release a list of people who are raising money for his bid.

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