Buttigieg Discloses Ex-Clients As Fundraising Swing Begins

Democratic presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign stop at the Danceland Ballroom Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Davenport. (Meg McLaughlin/The Dispatch - The Rock Island Argus via AP)

Facing intense pressure to answer questions about his work in the private sector, Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday disclosed a roster of former consulting clients that include a major health insurance provider, a nationwide electronics retailer, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

Buttigieg’s campaign released the details while the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, attended an evening fundraiser on Park Avenue in Manhattan. It was the first donor meeting on a five-day fundraising swing that features 10 meetings with big donors, and the first time he allowed the media to cover fundraising events that had previously been kept secret.

Walking into the event, he told The Associated Press that he’s “seeking to live out the values of transparency that we talk about, and given that we have a White House that has so moved radically in the opposite direction.”

While he is still unknown by many voters nationally, Buttigieg has emerged as one of his party’s most successful fundraisers this year — collecting more than $50 million so far in 2019 — in part by tapping the resources of big donors. That’s set him apart from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who have rejected traditional fundraising techniques in favor of small dollar donations.

Buttigieg resisted opening his fundraisers for much of the year, but that position became untenable as his campaign moved into the top tier of the Democratic primary.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the only other current Democratic candidate who regularly opens his fundraisers to a pool of reporters. Warren only does fundraisers for the Democratic Party and says she’ll only do those if they are open to the media. Sanders holds what his campaign calls “grassroots” fundraisers that are meant to prioritize even small donors and have generally been open to the press or livestreamed.

Buttigieg was under significant pressure to release details about his work for the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm. The company said Monday that it would allow Buttigieg to identify the clients he served more than a decade ago.