Nepotism Alert: Buttigieg's Husband Lands Plum Gig at Dem Consulting Firm

Chasten, a middle-school drama teacher best known for being married to a prominent politician, will serve as senior communications consultant

October 3, 2022

What happened: Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, joined KNP Communications as a senior consultant.

Why it matters: KNP Communications has close ties to the Democratic Party. In the press release announcing the hire, which declines to mention Chasten's prominent husband, the firm boasted that it has "helped elect Democratic candidates to office at the national, state, and local level since 2006."

By the numbers: KNP Communications has received almost $850,000 from Democratic campaigns and committees since 2009, including $89,000 in the 2021-2022 election cycle.

Be smart: The firm, which does not publicly disclose its clients, claims to work with members of Congress, state and local politicians, presidential candidates, corporate executives, charitable foundations, activist groups, university presidents, media pundits, and celebrities. Chasten's new role could raise conflict of interest concerns, given his husband's position in the Biden administration.

• KNP Communications did not immediately return a request for comment on whether Chasten would be barred from working with organizations that receive federal funding, for example, or face any restrictions in terms of the clients he is allowed to represent.

What they're saying: Matthew Kohut, a managing partner at KNP Communications, wrote in 2021 that the United States "is at war with a toxic ideology that has taken root among more than a third of the population." According to Kohut's estimation, more than 86 million American adults are afflicted with this ideology, which is predicated on "white supremacy," "xenophobia," and "misogyny." Americans must "overcome" this toxic ideology, he argued, in the same way Germany overcame its "Nazi past."

Two words: Influence peddling.

The big picture: Chasten is a middle-school drama teacher and theater artist who parlayed his husband's failed campaign in the 2020 Democratic primary into a book deal and a Harvard fellowship.

• The Washington Post described Chasten's memoir, I Have Something to Tell You, as a "particularly tone-deaf, if not worse" assessment of his husband's campaign, which was plagued by racial unrest in South Bend, Ind., where Pete served as mayor from 2012 to 2020.

• He's about as qualified to be a senior communications consultant as Chelsea Clinton was to be a special correspondent for NBC News, where she earned an annual salary of $600,000.

The bigger picture: Despite failing to win a statistically significant percentage of black voters in the primary, Pete is still widely considered (without evidence) to be a rising star in Democratic politics.

• Pete's name has even been floated as a possible replacement for President Joe Biden atop the Democratic ticket in 2024.

• Biden, who recently attempted to communicate with a dead congresswoman, continues to validate his many critics who argue he is not mentally fit to serve as president.

• Hiring Chasten is a fun way for a Democratic consulting firm to curry favor with a politician who seems incapable of not running for president. Those national campaigns raise tons of money to spend on consultants.

The even bigger picture: The announcement of Chasten's new gig comes a few days after the State Department tapped Monica Medina, wife of White House chief of staff Ron Klain, to serve as U.S. special envoy to the plant and animal kingdoms.

Go deeper: Pete Buttigieg will never be president. Even former president Barack Obama thinks he's too short.