McKinsey & Company expose has ripple effect

A story documenting how international strategic consulting firm McKinsey & Co. worked with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to reduce food and medical costs to levels below federal requirements is having repercussions in Massachusetts and in the race for president.

The New York Times and ProPublica, an investigative news outlet, sued ICE under the Freedom of Information Act for 1,500 pages of documents, including internal emails.   

“The money-saving recommendations the consultants came up with made some career ICE workers uncomfortable,” the Times-ProPublica report says. The recommendations included accelerating the deportation process, speeding up the hiring of 10,000 immigration officers (a Trump goal), recommending ways to circumvent due process, and decreasing food stores.  

McKinsey was hired initially by the Obama administration, and the firm was retained by the Trump administration, with its contract ending in July 2018. The company then secured a $10 million contract with Customs and Border Patrol through 2020.   

A McKinsey spokesman said the focus was to help ICE run more “effectively and cost-efficiently,” and maintained that the work “did not change as a result of (Trump’s) executive orders.” 

The investigation uncovered a 2018 McKinsey internal email where the firm’s leadership said it never focused on developing immigration policies and that the company would not “engage in work, anywhere in the world, that advances or assists policies that are at odds with our values.”

Those who oppose Trump’s immigration policies have a big problem with what McKinsey did. Lawyers for Civil Rights, a nonprofit legal organization, sent letters to Attorney General Maura Healey and New York Attorney General Letitia James urging an investigation into McKinsey.

“Based on the available evidence disclosed by news outlets, it is apparent that McKinsey and its leadership have deceived the public, including company employees and tax-paying consumers, regarding the extent of the firm’s entanglement with ICE,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, the executive director for the attorney group.  

The letter recommends the attorneys general launch a formal investigation into the company’s business and trade practices, and demands state officials sever any current ties to the company and avoid new ones. Healey’s office says it is reviewing the letter.  

According to state spending data, Massachusetts paid McKinsey $11 million in 2017, split between a $5.75 million contract with the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and a $5.31 million contract with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. The state spending website lists no spending for 2018 or 2019.  

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has urged the company to disclose more about its dealings with Saudi Arabia, is facing scrutiny herself. A report from the Washington Times this week said Warren used McKinsey’s consulting services to develop a long-term development plan during her days at Harvard Law School. The move earned the ire of students. Her daughter also worked for the company in the 1990s.

Another presidential contender, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, is under fire for not disclosing details about his time with the company in the mid-2000s, something he attributes to a nondisclosure agreement he signed with the firm. He saiod he’s asked to be let out of the agreement for the sake of transparency. The New York Times fills in a few gaps on his time with McKinsey with interviews of people involved with some of his McKinsey projects. Buttigieg has also called the decision by ICE to do what McKinsey recommended “disgusting.”

Buttigieg has claimed his private-sector experience with the company distinguishes him as the candidate that understands capitalism, but an editorial in the New York Times suggests he has difficulty making that claim without disclosing more information about his time there.

SARAH BETANCOURT


BEACON HILL

A Beacon Hill battle over when to hold a special election for a state Senate seat has united the fractured state Republican Party, which is fearful of losing one of its seats if voters go to the polls on the same day as the presidential primary. (State House News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh signals he could be open to a new tax on real estate sales to fund affordable housing. (Boston Globe)

Renée Loth asks whether Harvard can build a real neighborhood in Allston and avoid “another generic, overpriced civic nullity like Kendall Square or worse, the Seaport District?” (Boston Globe

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The Globe calls for President Trump’s impeachment. 

Ali Noorani says the Trump administration is upending the country’s values when it comes to immigration. (Boston Globe) 

ELECTIONS

John Kerry endorses Joe Biden for president, passing over fellow Bay Stater Elizabeth Warren in favor of his former colleague in the Senate. (Washington Post

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is trying to distance himself from a tweet last year where he declared “most affirmatively and indubitably, unto the ages, that I do favor Medicare for All.” Buttitigieg has since emerged as one of the chief critics of Medicare for All in the Democratic presidential field. (WGBH)

Warren releases a letter from her physician attesting to her good health. (Washington Post) 

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have reportedly finalized the purchase of a Martha’s Vineyard home for $11.75 million. (Cape Cod Times)

Car czar Herb Chambers keeps moving up in the luxury high-rise world, this time paying $18 million for a condo on the 59th floor of One Dalton in the Back Bay. (CommonWealth)

EDUCATION

Saugus superintendent David DeRuosi delivers a blunt assessment of the school system, blaming high turnover and irresponsible budgeting as two culprits for poor performance. (Daily Item)

With no dedicated revenue stream attached to it, the new education funding bill is banking on its $1.5 billion in new state aid to schools coming from continued growth in general revenue from a strong economy. (Boston Globe)

The Bourne School Committee voted unanimously to allow school nurses to have and administer Narcan to anyone suffering opioid overdose — student, teacher, parent, or visitor to the school — during school hours. (Cape Cod Times) 

Tufts University has begun stripping the Sackler name from various buildings and programs because of its now toxic association with the opioid crisis fueled by Sackler family-owned Purdue Pharma. (Boston Globe

HEALTH CARE

At least six cases of possible vaping-related lung illness in the state are linked to use of regulated marijuana products, say state officials. (Boston Globe)

Newton-Wellesley Hospital trimmed its staff by about 300 people with a voluntary retirement buyout. (MetroWest Daily News)

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Duke University are taking a new approach in the attempt to invent an HIV vaccine by guiding the body’s immune system to develop antibodies as the virus evolves in the body. (WBUR) 

TRANSPORTATION 

The MBTA’s Orange Line, whose new cars were supposed to be the shiny face of an improved transit system, instead has commuters seeing red, as the line has experienced multiple breakdowns with older cars, while its test fleet of new ones has been pulled from service because of problems with them. (Boston Globe) The Globe wrote a shorter version of the same story on Wednesday.

The T  hasn’t explained why its forthcoming fare collection system has been delayed, but there will be an update Monday. (WGBH) 

Uber says 3,045 sexual assaults were reported on US rides last year. (New York Times)

Kansas City prepares to go entirely fare free on its transit system. (KSHB)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

More than 60 members of the East Coast Latin Kings gang were arrested in a massive law enforcement sweep across the northeast led by US Attorney Andrew Lelling. (MassLive) Shaun Harrison, a former Boston high school dean, shows up in the indictment. (MassLive)

The Herald News has a photo essay of mugshots of members caught up in the New Bedford chapter of the Latin King’s, along with their backgrounds. The Standard-Times has even more about the law enforcement raid that had New Bedford as its biggest target. 

Robert Gale, a former Catholic priest convicted of raping a Waltham altar boy, will remain on probation after a judge denied his request to have his sentence cut short. (Patriot Ledger)