Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is calling on a consulting firm he used to work for to release a list of clients he was assigned, and to release him from his nondisclosure agreement -- while releasing a summary of his work there, amid concerns about potential conflicts of interest if he were elected president.
“I believe transparency is particularly important under the present circumstances in our country, which is one of the reasons why I have released all tax returns from my time in the private sector and since,” the South Bend, Ind. mayor said in a statement. “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."
“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,” he said.
Buttigieg worked for McKinsey & Company between 2007 and 2010, but many of the details of his time there have not been revealed, with Buttigieg citing an NDA he signed. But questions have only increased as Buttigieg has entered the presidential race and moved up the polls -- with some showing him in second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
The campaign says it inquired about the confidentiality agreement in both June and November -- and asked for Buttigieg to be released from it, but says that so far it has not been agreed to by the company.
“The bulk of my work on these teams consisted of doing mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations. 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,” he said.
The 37-year-old said in his statement that while some are calling on him to break the agreement, it is important to keep his commitment.
“Now more than ever, however, I also understand the American people deserve to know these kinds of details about their president's background in order to gain and hold that trust. So, I am asking McKinsey to do the right thing in the name of transparency,” he said.
In a press release, the campaign has provided a timeline of his work at the company, without getting into specifics barred by the NDA.
According to that timeline, Buttigieg worked in places ranging from Michigan, where he worked with a non-profit insurance provider in 2007, to California -- where he worked with an environmental nonprofit group in 2009.
From 2008-2009, 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.
The pressure is likely to remain on Buttigieg as he remains a top tier candidate. During a presidential forum in Waterloo Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suggested to Buttigieg, “You should break the NDA,” to distinguish himself from President Trump.
“It's not like I was the CEO,” he replied.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.