Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg slammed as “bullshit” the suggestion that he is implicated in a “corporate price fixing” scandal that ensnared a client of the consulting firm he worked for.
“You’ve been on the front lines of corporate price fixing,” New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum remarked when the South Bend, Ind. mayor sat down with the paper’s editorial board on Thursday. “You’ve had direct experience in many of the things that make a lot of young people very angry about the way that this country is operating right now. You don’t seem to embody that anger.”
“So the proposition that I’ve been on front lines of corporate price fixing is bullshit. Just to get that out of the way,” Buttigieg hit back.
“You worked for a company that was fixing bread prices,” Appelbaum said.
“No, I worked for a consulting company that had a client that may have been involved in fixing or was apparently in a scandal. I was not aware of the Canadian bread pricing scandal until last night,” the mayor argued.
Buttigieg worked for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which he left in 2010 to run for office, eventually becoming mayor of South Bend in 2012.
In 2017, the Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws admitted to engaging in a wide-ranging price-fixing scandal spanning over a decade that involved the prices of bread at its stores. During his time at McKinsey, Buttigieg spend six months in Toronto analyzing “the effects of price cuts on various combinations of items across hundreds of stores” for Loblaws.
Last year, Buttigieg’s campaign said he was not directly involved in the scandal but was simply “part of a team that ran analytics and put together a model to help this supermarket chain determine how much — and in what stores— they could make certain items more affordable in order to gain new customers.”
Buttigieg has fielded accusations in recent weeks from other 2020 candidates that he is too cozy with the corporate world, a top issue for candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren, who called out the mayor for holding a private fundraiser in a wine cave with wealthy donors.