WASHINGTON — Mayor Pete Buttigieg will open his fund-raisers to reporters and reveal the names of people raising money for his presidential campaign, his campaign manager announced Monday, a significant concession for a leading candidate under increasing pressure to release more details about his personal employment history and campaign finances.
The move from the mayor of South Bend, Ind., comes amid a back-and-forth between Mr. Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has spent the past several days challenging Mr. Buttigieg to open his fund-raisers to the press. It is a tacit admission that he could not sustain a transparency fight with Ms. Warren, who has from the earliest days of her campaign sought to claim the moral high ground on campaign finances.
“Fund-raising events with Pete will be open to press beginning tomorrow, and a list of people raising money for the campaign will be released within the week,” Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, said in a statement. Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren have for weeks now been engaged in a bitter campaign for Democratic support in Iowa, a state each of their campaigns view as critical to their path to the presidential nomination.
Mr. Buttigieg started it with television ads in September and a series of speeches that suggested without naming her that Ms. Warren was too extreme for the general electorate. Ms. Warren responded for the first time last month, telling an audience of Iowa Democrats that she was not “running some consultant-driven campaign with some vague ideas that are designed not to offend anyone,” a remark widely interpreted as a shot at the 37-year-old mayor.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, Mr. Buttigieg challenged Ms. Warren to release tax returns beyond the 11 years she had already made public, while releasing his own tax returns from the three years he worked at McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm that employed him after he finished his education. Those tax returns revealed no details about the type of work he did for McKinsey, only the locations of the offices to which he was assigned.
Over the weekend Ms. Warren renewed calls for Mr. Buttigieg to open his fund-raisers and name his campaign’s bundlers, telling reporters in New Hampshire that she was concerned about “conflicts being created every single day when candidates for president sell access to their time to the highest bidder.”
Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont do not hold closed-door fund-raising events. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. allows designated reporters to provide pool reports from his fund-raisers.
Mr. Buttigieg did release a list of people who bundled campaign contributions during the first quarter of 2019 but has not done so since. Senator Kamala Harris of California, who dropped out of the presidential race last week, released lists of her bundlers, but no other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has done so.
“He is the only current presidential candidate who has released the names of people raising money for his campaign, and we will continue to release additional names as more people join our growing effort,” Mr. Schmuhl said Monday. “Moreover, he will be one of the few candidates to allow reporters access to his fund-raising events.”
Ms. Warren on Sunday night bowed to pressure from Mr. Buttigieg to release information about payments she’d received from corporate law clients, revealing she’d earned about $1.9 million over three decades — a sum that is far less than she could have earned as a law professor at Harvard and other universities.
The events of the past week reignited questions about Mr. Buttigieg’s work for McKinsey, the only time the 37-year-old has been employed in the private sector.
Mr. Buttigieg has not revealed the names of clients he worked for while at McKinsey, saying he was forbidden from discussing them because of a nondisclosure agreement he signed while working at the firm.
But a campaign aide said Monday that McKinsey had agreed to let Mr. Buttigieg disclose his clients and that the campaign would be releasing the list soon.
Mr. Buttigieg said last week that he was “disgusted” by revelations of some of McKinsey’s work that took place after he left the firm, including work administering President Trump’s immigration policies.