Pete Buttigieg vows to open his fundraisers, reveal McKinsey client list after Warren attacks

Pete Buttigieg vows to open his fundraisers, reveal McKinsey client list after Warren attacks
By: WNG CNBC Posted On: December 09, 2019 View: 30

Pete Buttigieg vows to open his fundraisers, reveal McKinsey client list after Warren attacks

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign event December 08, 2019 at Washington Middle School in Washington, Iowa.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg, in a new transparency push, will reveal the identities of his campaign bundlers and the clients for whom he worked while a consultant at McKinsey & Co. nearly a decade ago, his campaign said on Monday.

In addition, the 37-year-old Democrat will open up his campaign fundraisers to reporters, appearing to head off criticism waged in recent days by rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts.

"In a continued commitment to transparency, we are announcing today that our campaign will open fundraisers to reporters, and will release the names of people raising money for our campaign," campaign manager Mike Schmuhl said in a statement.

Fundraising events will be open starting Tuesday, and a list of those who raise money for the campaign will be released by the end of the week, Schmuhl said. Lis Smith, a campaign spokesperson, said that the list of Buttigieg's McKinsey clients will be released "soon."

Buttigieg previously disclosed the names of his campaign bundlers but had not updated the list since April.

The new measures come after a barrage of criticism from progressives including Warren, who does not hold private fundraisers. Warren accused Buttigieg on Saturday of creating conflicts "every single day, right now" by continuing to hold fundraisers behind closed doors.

"Whoever is bundling for him at these fundraisers should be exposed," she told reporters.

The criticism was leveled at a potentially vulnerable spot for Buttigieg, who has made transparency a hallmark of his campaign. The campaign has invited reporters to spend long hours with him during three on-the-record bus tours, and claims to be the most transparent in the field.

But Buttigieg has been dogged in recent weeks by criticism because of the secrecy of his fundraisers and those who raise money on his behalf — known as bundlers — and his refusal to disclose the names of his clients while he worked as a consultant at McKinsey for three years after graduate school.

Buttigieg has said that he is prohibited from naming his clients because of a legal agreement he entered into with the company, and has asked McKinsey to release him from it. On Friday, under pressure from Warren and others, Buttigieg released a summary of his work for the company, which lasted from 2007 to 2010.

In a statement on Monday, a McKinsey spokesperson said that "we recognize the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign."

"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," the spokesperson 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."

While his own secrecy was being scrutinized, Buttigieg also called for Warren to release additional tax records covering her years working for corporate clients as a bankruptcy attorney.

On Sunday evening, Warren revealed that she received nearly $2 million for that legal work, which spanned three decades.

Warren's campaign has released 11 years of tax returns. The campaign said that its disclosures on Sunday provided more detail than tax returns would.

The back-and-forth between the two contenders comes as Buttigieg has risen in national polling averages. Warren, who ascended to the front of the crowded Democratic field over the summer, has since fallen in nationwide surveys and is behind Buttigieg in Iowa.

Warren and Buttigieg are both among the most prolific fundraisers in the primary race. Warren raised $24.6 million in the most recent quarter, averaging around $26 per donation, while Buttigieg raised $19.1 million, with the average donation about $40.

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