Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released the names of the clients that he worked for during his time at McKinsey on Tuesday after facing mounting pressure from voters over the secrecy surrounding his time at the consulting firm.
The Atlantic reported that Buttigieg’s campaign released the following clients that Buttigieg claims that he worked for while at McKinsey: “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Loblaws, a Canadian supermarket chain; Best Buy; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Energy; the Energy Foundation, an environmental nonprofit; the U.S. Postal Service; and the U.S. Department of Defense.”
Buttigieg, who had resisted releasing the names of his clients, eventually was forced to ask McKinsey for their permission to release the list due to the mounting pressure that comes from being a presidential candidate.
“I think people are going to pounce on things no matter what,” Buttigieg told The Atlantic. “The best I can do is to explain my story—as much as I can responsibly share. But if folks are going to come up with a fanciful theory based on consulting work I did four and a half years out of school, chances are they’ll find a way to do it no matter what I say or do.”
The New York Times noted that “the most politically troubling element of his client list might be his tenure working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a health care firm that at the time was in the process of reducing its work force.”
“While it was not yet clear exactly what Mr. Buttigieg did at Blue Cross, his work appeared to come at about the same time the insurer announced that it would cut up to 1,000 jobs — or nearly 10 percent of its work force — and request rate increases,” the Times added.
Intercept reporter Ryan Grim noted the same problem, writing on Twitter on Monday: “Appears that Buttigieg, at McKinsey, helped raise premiums and lay off workers for Blue Cross in Michigan. Michigan, of course, is a must win state in 2020. If this claim is true, how does he win Michigan? The Trump ads write themselves.”
Appears that Buttigieg, at McKinsey, helped raise premiums and lay off workers for Blue Cross in Michigan.
Michigan, of course, is a must win state in 2020. If this claim is true, how does he win Michigan? The Trump ads write themselves. https://t.co/drkcLe0IXd
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) December 9, 2019
The Atlantic’s report says that Buttigieg denied doing any work that would have caused people’s insurance to change or be taken away.
A separate New York Times report from last week highlighted some of the controversy that has recently surrounded McKinsey:
Beyond Mr. Buttigieg’s agreement with McKinsey, this is something of an awkward moment to be associated with the consultancy, especially if you happen to be a Democratic politician in an election year shadowed by questions of corporate power and growing wealth inequality. The firm has long advocated business strategies like raising executive compensation, moving labor offshore and laying off workers to cut costs. And over the last couple of years, reporting in The New York Times and other publications 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.
On the controversy currently surrounding the firm, Buttigieg said, “It’s a place that is as amoral as the American business community in general, or at least the corporate community, can be. And that’s one of the problems with it. I never worked or was asked to work on things that I had a problem with, but it’s a place that I think, like any other law firm or firms that deal with companies, just thinks about client work and doesn’t always think about the bigger implications.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.