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Facing pressure, Pete Buttigieg gives new details about confidential consulting work

Pete Buttigieg
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., released new details about his confidential consulting work with McKinsey & Co.
(Amy Harris / Associated Press)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., released new details on Friday about his confidential work with McKinsey & Co. a decade ago at the same time he escalated calls for the consulting firm to release him from a nondisclosure agreement.

Buttigieg, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, faced repeated questions from voters and the media this week about what he did for McKinsey between 2007 and 2010. McKinsey has received increasing criticism from the public for its past work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, authoritarian governments and opioid manufacturers.

The newly released details don’t include the names of Buttigieg’s clients but are the most detailed accounting yet of how he spent his time with McKinsey, which consults for companies and governments around the world.

In 2007, according to Buttigieg’s campaign, Buttigieg’s first project for McKinsey as an associate involved working for a nonprofit health insurance provider for three months, “undertaking on-the-job training and performing analytical work as part of a team identifying savings in administration and overhead costs.”

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In 2008, Buttigieg spent six months in the Toronto area for a grocery and retail chain, “analyzing the effects of price cuts on various combinations of items across their hundreds of stores.”

That same year, Buttigieg briefly worked in Chicago for a division of a consumer goods retail chain “on a project to investigate opportunities for selling more energy-efficient home products in their stores.” He then took time off to volunteer full time for a Democratic campaign for governor in Indiana.

Between 2008 and 2009, Buttigieg worked “mostly in Connecticut” to help produce a report called “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy” on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council and “other nonprofit environmental groups and several utility companies.”

In 2009, Buttigieg consulted “mostly in California” for an environmental nonprofit group “on a study to research opportunities in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

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That same year, he was stationed in Washington and made visits to Iraq and Afghanistan to serve “a U.S. government department in a project focused on increasing employment and entrepreneurship in those countries’ economies.”

Between 2009 and 2010 in Washington, Buttigieg “served a logistics and shipping provider working to identify and analyze potential new sources of revenue” as his final assignment for McKinsey.

Buttigieg said this was the complete list of his clients “to the best of my recollection” but added that he hoped McKinsey would release a full list.

McKinsey did not respond to requests for comment.

The two-term mayor has repeatedly asked the consulting firm to drop the NDA.

“I am today reiterating my request that McKinsey release me from this agreement, and I again make clear that I authorize them to release the full list of clients I was assigned to serve,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “This company must recognize the importance of transparency in the exceptional case of a former employee becoming a competitive candidate for the U.S. presidency.

“I understand why some are calling on me to break the agreement. But, it’s important to me to keep my word and commitments. I know the American people also want a president who they can trust to do the same.”


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