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Pete Buttigieg releases timeline of work at McKinsey

Buttigieg focuses on black voters in South

2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Friday night released the most detailed timeline yet of his work at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, after facing pressure from the public and the media to disclose the nature of his work for the company. The South Bend, Indiana, mayor also called on McKinsey to release him from the non-disclosure agreement that he said prevents him from speaking further. 

The timeline, provided in a statement from the Buttigieg campaign, covers the two-and-a-half years he spent at the company between 2007 and 2010. According to the campaign, Buttigieg worked in Michigan, Toronto, Chicago, Connecticut, California, Washington, Iraq and Afghanistan, serving companies including a health insurance provider, a grocery and retail chain, and a U.S. government department. 

"As an associate, I was assigned to months-long stints on 'teams' of typically three or four people working on a study for a client," Buttigieg said in the statement. "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." 

"To the best of my recollection, these are all of my client engagements during my time with the firm, but a full release from McKinsey will allow the American public to see the full scope of my work," he added.

Buttigieg said that his client list is covered under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that bars him from publicly releasing it — and that despite multiple requests from his campaign, McKinsey has not released him from the agreement. 

"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," he said. "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." 

Buttigieg also said that he does not plan to break the NDA. "It's important to me to keep my word and commitments," he wrote. "I know the American people also want a president who they can trust to do the same." 

Buttigieg's work with McKinsey has been in the spotlight this week. He's been asked questions about his time there at several town halls, and The New York Times on Friday published an investigation into his time at McKinsey. 

Earlier this week, the Times and ProPublica reported that starting in 2017, McKinsey helped Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) "accelerate the deportation process." The report alleged that McKinsey consultants suggested cuts to spending on food and medical care for migrants, so much so that some ICE agents grew concerned that the cuts would run afoul of migrants' due process rights.  

Two days after the report, The New York Times Editorial Board slammed Buttigieg for his "untenable" silence on the details of his work with the company. The editorial said that the candidate "owes voters a more complete account of his time at the company," and that it's his responsibility to "find a way to give voters a more complete accounting of his time at the company." 

At a campaign event in Birmingham, Alabama, on Wednesday, Buttigieg called what was reported in the Times "disgusting," but insisted it was "separate" from the campaign.

"And as somebody who I left the firm a decade ago, seeing what certain people in that firm have decided to do is extremely frustrating and extremely disappointing," Buttigieg said. "I don't believe that anybody involved in that effort has had anything to do with our campaign."

On Friday evening, Buttigieg told reporters in Waterloo, Iowa, that he would give "(McKinsey) a chance to do the right thing" before he would potentially consider breaking his NDA with the company. Buttigieg also said he will "check" to see if he can release the contents of the agreement.

When pressed what will happen if the company refuses to waive the NDA, Buttigieg answered, "Well, then they're putting me in a difficult position 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."

Read the full timeline provided by Buttigieg's campaign below: 


  • Working in Michigan for my first study, I served a nonprofit health insurance provider for approximately three months, undertaking on-the-job training and performing analytical work as part of a team identifying savings in administration and overhead costs.  


  • Working in the Toronto area, I served a grocery and retail chain for approximately six months, analyzing the effects of price cuts on various combinations of items across their hundreds of stores.
  • Working in Chicago, I briefly served a division of a consumer goods retail chain on a project to investigate opportunities for selling more energy-efficient home products in their stores.
  • I stepped away from the firm during the late summer and fall of 2008 to help full-time with a Democratic campaign for governor in Indiana, returning after the election.


  • Working mostly in Connecticut, I worked on a project co-sponsored by a group that included the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, other nonprofit environmental groups, and several utility companies, to research opportunities to combat climate change through energy efficiency. This work was published as a report entitled "Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy", which is publicly available at [link] and includes the full list of co-sponsors.


  • Working mostly in California, I served an environmental nonprofit group on a study to research opportunities in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Working in Washington with visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, I served a U.S. Government department in a project focused on increasing employment and entrepreneurship in those countries' economies.


  • Working in Washington, I served a logistics and shipping provider working to identify and analyze potential new sources of revenue. This was my last study while at McKinsey.
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