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Pete Buttigieg Says He Will Open Fundraisers, Disclose All Bundlers

Emma Kinery

(Bloomberg) -- McKinsey & Co said Monday it would release Pete Buttigieg from a nondisclosure agreement preventing him from naming the clients he worked for as a consultant at the firm from 2007 to 2010.

In a statement, a spokesman for McKinsey, who refused to be identified, said the company would allow Buttigieg to release the names because of 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 spokesman 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.”

Buttigieg asked the firm on Friday to release him from the nondisclosure agreements he signed when he joined McKinsey. He had come under attack from his Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren for not disclosing the names of his clients.

Buttigieg spokeswoman Lis Smith tweeted that the campaign would soon release the names.

He has said that he worked for several nonprofits and on projects in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also has released his tax returns for the years he was at McKinsey.

Buttigieg also Monday said that he would open his fundraisers to the press and release more names of so-called bundlers, a response to Warren’s demand that he be more transparent about the source of his campaign contributions.

Buttigieg has held several high-dollar fundraisers with Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors without allowing any reporters in or releasing names of guests and hosts. “Bundlers” collect campaign contributions from multiple donors and deliver it to the candidate.

Warren, whose attacks on Buttigieg have increased as he’s taken the lead in the first nominating state of Iowa, has criticized him for a lack of transparency. She doesn’t hold fundraisers and relies mostly on grassroots contributions. Joe Biden allows reporters into his fundraisers but has yet to release the names of his bundlers

“From the start, Pete has said it is important for every candidate to be open and honest, and his actions have reflected that commitment,” Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

Fundraisers will be open to the press beginning Tuesday and the names of bundlers will be released this week, Schmuhl said.

Buttigieg and Warren have sparred over transparency and their past corporate ties.

On Thursday, Warren unleashed an unusually pointed attack on Buttigieg’s campaign-finance practices at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Boston.

“The mayor should be releasing who’s on his finance committee, who are the bundlers who are raising big money for him, who he’s given a title to and made promises to,” Warren said. “And he should open up the doors so that the press can follow the promises that he’s making in these big-dollar fundraisers.”

Buttigieg released a list of 32 campaign bundlers in the first quarter. The names included hedge-fund manager Orin Kramer, who raised more than $500,000 for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist who represents Goldman Sachs Group and Facebook Inc.

Buttigieg raised $24.9 million in the second quarter, tops among Democratic contenders. Overall, Buttigieg’s campaign has raked in $51.5 million, placing him third, behind Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

In April, Buttigieg’s campaign announced it would no longer accept money from registered lobbyists or allow them to raise money for him. It also said it would not accept money from corporate PACs. His campaign refunded $30,250 it had received from lobbyists up to that point, including $2,800 given by Elmendorf.

On Sunday, Warren disclosed that she had made $1.9 million as a bankruptcy lawyer after several requests from Buttigieg that she release her tax returns.

Warren had previously released the names of the clients and cases she took on during her tenure as a professor at Harvard and other law schools, as well as 11 years of tax returns, dating back to 2008. The documents released Sunday cover her compensation between 1985 and 2009, but don’t include tax returns.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

(Updates with Buttigieg campaign statement in fifth paragraph.)

--With assistance from Bill Allison.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emma Kinery in Washington at ekinery@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley

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