The announcements follow several days of intense questioning surrounding Buttigieg’s work for McKinsey & Co., the management consulting firm that was his first post-college employer. The company said Monday that it would allow Buttigieg to disclose the clients he worked for at the firm from 2007 to 2009, acceding to a request the Buttigieg campaign made last month and the candidate himself amplified in public last week.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had also been challenged by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to open his fundraisers to the press and release the names of the major financial bundlers who raise money for him. His decision to do both is a tacit admission that he could not sustain a transparency fight with Warren and the additional media scrutiny that comes with being among the presidential campaign’s front-runners.
Releasing new information about both his McKinsey clients and campaign donors may bring risks for Buttigieg, whose campaign rivals have clamored for his McKinsey clients for months to little avail. Only last week following revelations the firm helped the Trump administration implement its immigration policies did Buttigieg’s clients receive sufficient attention to warrant Buttigieg himself to call for the firm to release him from a nondisclosure agreement.
Opening his fundraisers paves the way for scrutiny of both what he says to donors behind closed doors and the process of high-dollar fundraising itself. Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are not holding any private fundraising events. Former Vice President Joe Biden has allowed print reporters to attend them since the outset of his campaign. There have been several news cycles driven by inopportune remarks Biden made to donors.
“Fundraising events with Pete will be open to press beginning tomorrow, and a list of people raising money for the campaign will be released within the week,” Buttigieg’s campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, said in a statement. Buttigieg and Warren have for weeks now been engaged in a bitter campaign for Democratic support in Iowa, a state each of their campaigns view as critical to their path to the presidential nomination.
Buttigieg started the dispute with Warren with television ads in September and a series of speeches that suggested, without naming her, that Warren was too extreme for the general electorate. Warren responded for the first time last month, telling an audience of Iowa Democrats that she was not “running some consultant-driven campaign with some vague ideas that are designed not to offend anyone,” a remark widely interpreted as a shot at Buttigieg.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, Buttigieg challenged Warren to release tax returns from beyond the 11 years she had already made public, while releasing his own tax returns from the three years he worked at McKinsey & Co., the management consulting firm that employed him after he finished his education. Those tax returns revealed no details about the type of work he did for McKinsey, only the locations of the offices to which he was assigned.
Over the weekend Warren renewed calls for Buttigieg to open his fundraisers and name his campaign’s bundlers, telling reporters in New Hampshire that she was concerned about “conflicts being created every single day when candidates for president sell access to their time to the highest bidder.”
Buttigieg did release a list of people who bundled campaign contributions during the first quarter of 2019 but has not done so since. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who dropped out of the presidential race last week, released lists of her bundlers, but no other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has done so.
“He is the only current presidential candidate who has released the names of people raising money for his campaign, and we will continue to release additional names as more people join our growing effort,” Schmuhl said Monday. “Moreover, he will be one of the few candidates to allow reporters access to his fundraising events.”
Warren on Sunday night bowed to pressure from Buttigieg to release information about payments she’d received from corporate law clients, revealing she’d earned about $1.9 million over three decades — a sum that is far less than she could have earned as a law professor at Harvard and other universities.
The events of the past week reignited questions about Buttigieg’s work for McKinsey, the only time the 37-year-old has been employed in the private sector.
Buttigieg has not revealed the names of clients he worked for while at McKinsey, saying he was forbidden from discussing them because of a nondisclosure agreement he signed while working at the firm.
McKinsey had not weighed in publicly about Buttigieg’s nondisclosure agreement until late Monday, when a spokesman said he was now free to discuss his clients there.
“We recognize the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign,” the spokesman said. “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.”
Lis Smith, Buttigieg’s senior adviser, said Monday that the campaign would be releasing the list soon.
Buttigieg said last week that he was “disgusted” by revelations of some of McKinsey’s work that took place after he left the firm, including work administering President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times .