McKinsey & Co., the business consulting firm where Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg once worked, has agreed to release him from a nondisclosure agreement so he can discuss the clients he served.
The gay candidate has been criticized by his rivals for the presidential nomination, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as various political observers for not having more to say about his work for McKinsey, where he was on staff from 2007 to 2010. But he has said he is prevented from revealing much because of the NDA.
“We recognize the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign,” a McKinsey spokesperson said in a statement, according to Politico. “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.”
A staffer with Buttigieg’s campaign tweeted that the candidate will release a list soon.
Democratic activists have raised the question of whether McKinsey’s work conflicts with the party’s values. “The firm has long advocated business strategies like raising executive compensation, moving labor offshore and laying off workers to cut costs,” The New York Times noted recently. “And over the last couple of years, reporting … has revealed episodes tarnishing McKinsey’s once-sterling reputation: its work advising Purdue Pharma on how to ‘turbocharge’ opioid sales, its consulting for authoritarian governments in places like China and Saudi Arabia, and its role in a wide-ranging corruption scandal in South Africa. (All of these came after Mr. Buttigieg left the firm.)” Also, McKinsey “recommended in 2017 that Immigration and Customs Enforcement cut its spending on food for migrants and medical care for detainees,” according to the Times.
Buttigieg has disclosed that while with McKinsey, he traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan part of a team of “whiz kids” tasked with helping businesses in those war-ravaged countries flourish so they could hire young people and prevent them from joining terrorist groups. Without identifying clients, he said he worked on expanding agricultural opportunities in Afghanistan as well as energy efficiency research.
He later said his clients included a “nonprofit health care provider” and that he worked on energy issues for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Department of Energy. The McKinsey spokesperson has confirmed all this information.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.