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Buttigieg calls on McKinsey to release list of his clients

WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is calling on his former employer McKinsey & Co. to release a list of the clients he served and to free him from a nondisclosure agreement he signed when he worked there a decade ago.

In a statement Friday, he also included a summary of the work he said he did at the consulting firm. It is the most detailed look Buttigieg has given so far of his time at the company.

Buttigieg has been under scrutiny for refusing to discuss the three years he spent working for the consulting firm, pointing to the nondisclosure agreement he signed. Interest in the South Bend, Indiana, mayor has only grown as his star continues to rise in the Democratic presidential primary race, and many progressive Democratic voters are skeptical of candidates with ties to the corporate world.

Buttigieg said his campaign has already reached out to McKinsey twice before in the hopes of getting released from the agreement, but the company had yet to acquiesce to his request. He said he hopes McKinsey can “recognize the importance of transparency in the exceptional case of a former employee becoming a competitive candidate for the U.S. presidency.”

McKinsey did not immediately return an online message sent to its media office late Friday.

Buttigieg said his time at McKinsey, from 2007 to early 2010, involved working in small groups on monthslong assignments, completing studies for clients.

“The bulk of my work on these teams consisted of doing mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations," Buttigieg wrote. “I never worked on a project inconsistent with my values, and if asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate.

In a timeline of his work at McKinsey included as part of his statement, Buttigieg listed service in Michigan for a nonprofit health insurance provider in 2007; service in the Toronto area for a grocery and retail chain in 2008; and service in Chicago for a division of a consumer goods retail chain, also in 2008.

From 2008-2009, he said, he worked in Connecticut on a project co-sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, other environmental groups and several utility companies.

In 2009, he said, he worked for an environmental nonprofit group, mostly in California, and served a U.S. government department in Washington, D.C., while making visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, for a project focused on boosting employment and entrepreneurship in those countries.

And from 2009-2010, he said, he worked in Washington for a logistics and shipping provider to help come up with new sources of revenue.

During a presidential forum in Waterloo Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suggested to Buttigieg, “You should break the NDA,” to distinguish himself from President Donald Trump, who has sought to hide his financial dealings.

“It's not like I was the CEO,” he replied, describing his role as making “spreadsheets and power points."

Buttigieg later told reporters, “I want to give them the chance to do the right thing,” he said of McKinsey.

If the company refuses, he said, “They are putting me in a difficult position then, because it’s important to me to keep my word and it’s also very important to me to offer as much transparency as possible."