- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2019

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced Monday that he will start opening his fundraising events to the press and disclosing the “bundlers” who collect big-money donations for his campaign, amid pressure from fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s team also said he would release a list of previous corporate clients after his former consulting firm gave him the go-ahead Monday.

The moves came a day after Ms. Warren’s campaign disclosed that she made close to $2 million over her years of legal work, mostly from corporate bankruptcy cases, and as the Massachusetts Democrat was ramping up attacks on Mr. Buttigieg’s past consulting work and high-dollar fundraising activity.

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Buttigieg campaign manager Mike Schmuhl said the mayor’s fundraisers would be open to reporters starting Tuesday and that the campaign would release a list of people raising money for Mr. Buttigieg “within the week.”

“Our campaign strives to be the most transparent in the field,” Mr. Schmul said. “There are important differences in this race among Democratic candidates … but transparency shouldn’t be one of them.”

After months of shying away from directly attacking her Democratic rivals, Ms. Warren had recently called on Mr. Buttigieg to disclose more information about his past work at McKinsey & Co., an elite consulting firm, and his high-dollar fundraisers and bundlers.

A representative for McKinsey said Monday that after receiving permission from relevant companies, Mr. Buttigieg is now allowed to disclose the identity of the clients he served while working there from 2007 to 2010.

Lis Smith, a top adviser to the campaign, said they would be releasing the list soon.

“And in this instance, @PeteButtigieg is being transparent about his private sector work AND keeping his word — two things you will never hear said about our current President,” Ms. Smith tweeted.

Last week, Mr. Buttigieg provided some details about his two-and-a-half years at the company, saying he worked for a variety of companies including “nonprofit health insurance provider” in Michigan and a “grocery and retail chain” in the Toronto area.

He had resisted disclosing more of the work he did at McKinsey, saying he had been bound by a confidentiality agreement.

The Buttigieg camp fired back at Ms. Warren, saying she should release more of her tax returns that would presumably reveal more about her past legal work.

Ms. Warren, who has campaigned as an anti-corporate crusader, tried to get out in front of such potential incoming fire this week by disclosing that she made close to $2 million as a lawyer over the years.

Amid skepticism over her “Medicare for All” health care proposal, Ms. Warren has fallen behind Mr. Buttigieg in recent polling in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Massachusetts senator’s new overtures show that she sees Mr. Buttigieg as a “significant problem” even as the top contenders are also jockeying for position with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf.

“It’s an attempt to make Buttigieg part of the corporate enemy that she’s created — and she may very well be successful,” Mr. Sheinkopf said. “[But] in this environment, once you begin to move somebody to the money side of the equation when the issue for the Democrats is income inequality, any move becomes dangerous.”

In disclosing Ms. Warren’s legal work on Sunday, her campaign included clients for whom she consulted, including the attorneys for Rabobank, a Dutch financial institution that became a creditor in the Enron bankruptcy and former directors of Getty Oil, who were involved in Texaco’s bankruptcy.

Democrats have to present “the most robust possible contrast” on conflicts of interest and corruption issues if they want to beat President Trump, said Warren campaign spokeswoman Kristen Orthman.

“Elizabeth does not sell access to her time — no closed-door, big-dollar fundraisers, no bundling program, no perks or promises to any wealthy donor,” Ms. Orthman said.

But her past work flies in the face of an image of an anti-corporate champion, said Republican consultant Jim Barnett.

“No corporation pays a high-powered Harvard professor-lawyer tens of thousands, in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that they will represent the interests of their courtroom opponents,” he said.

Mr. Barnett, who worked with the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, said the attacks Ms. Warren is throwing at Mr. Buttigieg mirror some of the ones she trained on Mr. Brown during that race.

“She accused Scott Brown of being in cahoots with big banks who were his clients, notwithstanding the fact that he represented these banks as a small-town real estate attorney in home sale closings,” he said. “Obviously, Buttigieg is a gathering threat, if not an imminent one, and in many respects he cuts into the sort of highly educated base voter that Warren also relies on.”

But Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said Ms. Warren has consistently gone above and beyond on transparency.

“I feel very good that the center of gravity is currently around core issues like systemic corruption and corporate accountability that are responsible for Warren’s rise,” said Mr. Green, whose group has endorsed Ms. Warren in the race.

McKinsey is under renewed scrutiny in the wake of a recent news report that said the company consulted with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on proposed cuts in spending on food and medical care for detained undocumented immigrants as cost-saving measures.

The company disputed the report, saying they’re committed to “supporting the United States’ legacy of welcoming immigrants.”

⦁ S.A. Miller contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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