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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is clearly the flavor of the month in a Democratic primary that seems to have a new flavor each month. The golden child of Democratic politics has campaigned on his reputation of competence and technocratic excellence even though he has done nothing more than serving as a mayor of a mid-sized city. One of the things that Buttigieg uses to sell himself is his corporate background from before he ran for mayor of South Bend. However, Buttigieg pulls the wool over the public's eyes by claiming credit for the work without telling us exactly what this work is.
Now, Buttigieg is being taken to task for his lack of transparency in disclosing the clients that he had while he worked at the elite McKinsey consulting firm. Buttigieg proudly brandishes McKinsey on his resume any time that he is being dismissed as inexperienced and unqualified. However, Buttigieg simply expects the public to trust him about what he did there and the fact that it qualifies him for the presidency. When asked about what he did at McKinsey, Buttigieg goes mum.
Buttigieg Claims Credit for His Work But Will Not Tell You What it Is
The mayor has claimed that he is prevented from discussing his work at McKinsey due to non-disclosure agreements that he signed. McKinsey requires its employees to sign these agreements as a condition for employment so it can maintain the veil of secrecy that shrouds the firm. McKinsey has earned a somewhat controversial reputation for some of the clients that it has served, including opioid manufacturers and some foreign dictatorships. Some Democrats have argued that Buttigieg's time at McKinsey should not be viewed as a qualification for the presidency since the firm serves clients to whom Democrats have significant antipathy. Buttigieg seemingly tries to have it both ways by using his time as a McKinsey consultant to burnish his resume while being critical of the firm for some of the work that it has done.
In response to the critics, Buttigieg released a description of his work at McKinsey. However, this is only a partial description and leaves much out of the actual details of his work. All Buttigieg released is a list of assignments on which he worked while at the exclusive consulting firm. He did not list clients or anything more, causing legitimate wonder as to what he did there and any possible conflicts of interests that may have resulted. Considering how little known Mayor Buttigieg is, any holes in his prior experience or things that we do not know should be grounds for concern given his otherwise thin resume.
Buttigieg has claimed that he has asked McKinsey to be released from the terms of a non-disclosure agreement that he signed. The campaign further claims that the consulting firm has not let him out of the agreement and accordingly, he cannot discuss his employment there. In the meantime, there is a serious contender for the presidency who will not talk about a large part of his professional life and is unable to answer questions that the American public has.
Welcome to the Top, Mayor Pete
In general, the scrutiny that Buttigieg is now facing reflects his standing in the top tier of Democratic contenders. It is only right that someone who has made their way towards the top of the field answers questions about a key part of their life. Buttigieg has now faced a number of questions about his experience and background, and his fellow Democrats are now beginning to train their fire on him.
For a group of candidates who have frequently criticized President Trump for his lack of transparency, the Democrats' insistence on cloaking their own records is inconsistent with the standard to which they are trying to hold the president. For Buttigieg, his failure to disclose more about his work background is the latest in a string of non-transparent actions that include his being less than forthcoming about his campaign donors. Although Buttigieg claims to have no Washington experience, he is already part of the Swamp before he even sets one foot in the town. His fundraising events are closed to the press even though he has become a darling of the Hollywood establishment. For someone claiming to be a breath of fresh air, Buttigieg seems to be operating under the same old stale Washington principles.
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