Elizabeth Warren Abandons McKinsey Disclosure Demands

Warren gives ex-McKinsey consultant, Biden nominee a pass

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March 2, 2021

During the 2020 Democratic primaries, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) was unrelenting on her demand that Pete Buttigieg reveal who his clients were when he worked for consulting giant McKinsey & Company. Beating the drum that people need "to know about possible conflicts of interest," Warren persuaded her political rival to release his client list just as he moved to the top of the Iowa polls.

Warren's dedication to digging into former work at McKinsey appears, however, to have ended with the close of her political spat with Buttigieg. On Tuesday morning, neither Warren nor any of her colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee raised questions about Biden nominee Rohit Chopra's past work for McKinsey as they evaluated his qualifications to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Warren is far from a rival of Chopra, who worked with Warren to establish the CFPB and has been described as one of her "acolytes." Before his work for the consumer protection agency, though, he was a consultant for McKinsey, where according to the Washington Post he worked on financial issues, including student debt and consumer credit markets. His LinkedIn page says his work at McKinsey was on financial services and technology. His financial disclosure forms make no mention of his McKinsey work or any of his clients.

Warren did not respond to requests for comment on her lack of interest in Chopra's McKinsey work. She praised Chopra during the Tuesday morning hearing, saying, "I have no doubt that you are the right person to lead the bureau at this moment."

During his first stint at the CFPB, Chopra was hired by Warren herself to work as its student loan ombudsman. In the years since, Warren has taken keen interest in advancing his political career. In 2015 she praised Chopra, at the time still working at CFPB, as "smart as a whip, independent, hard-working, and loaded with integrity," and recommended him to head New York's powerful department of financial services.

Chopra was not nominated for the position, instead moving on to a short stint in the Obama administration's Department of Education. He has since worked as a senior fellow at Neera Tanden's Center for American Progress, on Hillary Clinton's ultimately unnecessary 2016 transition team, and for the past three years as a Democratic commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

Republicans have homed in on Chopra's ties to Warren, characterizing the pair as two ideological peas in a pod. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.), the House Financial Services Committee's top Republican, said Chopra’s nomination "will make Elizabeth Warren very happy" and called the decision "proof that the Biden team is pandering to members of the far-left who want to weaponize the CFPB to go after financial services companies they simply don't like."

Neither the White House nor Chopra responded to requests for comment about his client list at McKinsey.