Who is McKinsey and Company and why should we be concerned?

Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.

~André Malraux

Note: This piece is a follow-up to an article published on this blog called “Setting The Record Straight“.  The purpose of this article is to explore McKinsey and Company in their involvement in setting and establishing official government policy.  The average reader is very unfamiliar with McKinsey and those members of the general public who might be are generally only familiar with their name.  You have to dig and you have dig deep.  Even then, there are more unanswered questions because it appears to be the official policy of McKinsey that “it is the firm’s policy not to discuss any of its work with clients.” 

I have invested hours of my personal life in doing this research.  This is not just a fly-by-night hit piece.  I’ve found more than sufficient reasons to be concerned but I still have a lot of unanswered questions.  

In 2017, the Governor contracted with an outside firm using $1.8 million dollars of taxpayer funds to offer a no-bid contract to the consulting firm of McKinsey and Company to help him draft his budget proposal for 2017-18. This was at a time when Pennsylvania was facing a $700 million budget shortfall. Most of this happened out of public scrutiny since Steffi Langner, a spokeswoman for McKinsey, said it is her firm’s policy not to discuss any of its work with clients. i  I would learn, as I did more and more research, that answer seems to be consistent when McKinsey and Company is challenged by the press.

It was during this time period that I first became aware of McKinsey and Company and I did a little research but nothing too deep.  Then came the announcement of Paul Mango as a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania.

In the 2016 election cycle, McKinsey and Company dumped $1,336,032 into the elections. $1,013,589 of that went to Democrats. The remaining money went to Republicans but to say that it certainly didn’t go to the more conservative members is an understatement.  On matters of defending Personal Liberty, it’s even worse. ii

There’s good reason for this. The more conservative members of the Federal Government have been working to put an end to many of things that McKinsey promotes but big money talks in politics. That’s true at the State and Federal levels. In exploring the Deep State, we’ll find McKinsey’s fingerprints everywhere.

McKinsey and Company has been a large proponent of Common Core. David Coleman, one of the main architects of the National Common Core System (NCCS) and now head of the College Board was a former partner at McKinsey. Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor for Pearson is a former McKinsey and Co partner and head of McKinsey global education practice.

Behind McKinsey’s push is the use or (or as many believe, the abuse of) “Big Data”…data-mining efforts in using educational resources to generate data concerning private medical decisions. Many are concerned that the goal is to place public data, test scores and private medical information from children among the most valuable data sets, into private hands for corporate profit and control.

According to McKinsey’s own research panel entitled: Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity– Capturing its value:

“Big data—large pools of data that can be captured, communicated, aggregated, stored, and analyzed—is now part of every sector and function of the global economy. Like other essential factors of production such as hard assets and human capital, it is increasingly the case that much of modern economic activity, innovation, and growth simply couldn’t take place without data.”iii

Among the leaders of this project is Martin N. Baily, a senior adviser to McKinsey.

During a February 2015 congressional hearing on “How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy,” Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin asked the panel to “provide a summary of all the information collected by the time a student reaches graduate school.” Joel Reidenberg, director of the Center on Law & Information Policy at Fordham Law School, responded:

“Just think George Orwell, and take it to the nth degree. We’re in an environment of surveillance, essentially. It will be an extraordinarily rich data set of your life.”

That comes from a Washington Post article “The astonishing amount of data being collected about your children” iv

That articles goes on to state:

Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), medical and counseling records that are included in your child’s education records are unprotected by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed by Congress in 1996). Thus, very sensitive mental and physical health information can be shared outside of the school without parent consent.

McKinsey was hired to consult at McGill University in Canada. It created a backlash that caused one commentator in 2011 to state:

“McKinsey has a reputation for prioritizing profits over people, and for doing so opaquely and without public accountability. The quality of our university should not be sacrificed in the name of efficiency. The very presence of McKinsey consultants caused the Seattle Education Association to develop an organized resistance in 2008. McKinsey was even a defendant in Hurricane Katrina litigations for faulty advising to the insurance industry, in which the Louisiana Attorney General characterized their service, “Deny, delay, defund” to home insurers taking claims from New Orleans residents. v

In a 2007 article by Bob Ross in the Times-Picayune we find this: New Mexico attorney David Berardinelli, wrote a book about the McKinsey company’s work for Allstate called “From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves.” The title of the book is taken from a McKinsey slide advising the company to don boxing gloves and pummel anyone who doesn’t accept settlements for pennies on the dollar.vi

Current and former McKinsey consultants now invested in corporate-model education reform include: Louis Gerstner (co-chair of Achieve-the group that helped sponsor Nation Common Core), Rajat Gupta (financial backer of the Harlem Children’s Zone), Marshall Lux (on the Board of the Harlem Children’s Zone), Andrés Satizábal (Harlem Charter School), Michael Stone (Chief External Relations Officer at New Schools for New Orleans), Terrence McDonough (English Teacher and Department Chair at Edward W. Brooke Charter School and 5th Grade Teacher at Teach for America), Luis de la Fuente (with the Broad Foundation, who develops and manages a portfolio of grants to school districts, charter management organizations, and innovative non-profits), Shantanu Sinha (COO of Kahn Academies), and Jerry Hauser ( who served as the Chief Operating Officer at Teach For America). This list could go on ad infinitum.

But one final player of note is Bobby Jindal, former McKinsey consultant, and Governor of Louisiana. He formed policies to privatize public education for the entire state of Louisiana. This sounds good except he was going in the direction of privatizing them for Corporate Controls through Common Core initiatives. In addition, Paul Pastorek, the former Louisiana Superintendent of Education, hired Sir Michael Barber to help redesign the Louisiana DOE.

Mitt Romney told the Wall Street Journal that if he is elected President, he will “probably” hire McKinsey to tell him how to reorganize the government. vii

This is the force and scope of the political influence of McKinsey and yet, many of us have never heard of them. They buy political influence. After graduating from Stanford with academic honors in history, in 2001, Chelsea Clinton studied for a master’s degree in international relations at Oxford’s University College. While at Oxford, however, she seemed to spend more time making social connections while clubbing with the likes of Paul McCartney, attending fashion shows and London premieres with her new friends Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey and cultivating her celebrity status before settling down to find employment with McKinsey and company. With no experience or background in the Healthcare industry; no expertise in statistical data collection…she was reported to have been paid a salary of $120,000 with a signing bonus of $10,000.viii

McKinsey and Company was Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite consulting firm.ix

The push for Common Core and data-mining permeates the mindset of Charter School Investors. A 2009 article in the New York Times praised to work of hedge-fund managers and in development of common core driven charter schools. NYT stated “Charters have attracted benefactors from many fields. But it is impossible to ignore that in New York, hedge funds are at the movement’s epicenter.” NYT adds that: “Younger on average than top executives at financial giants like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley hedge fund managers are often numbers-driven refugees of those banks, who chuck the suit and tie and work with a small staff, studying spreadsheets for investment opportunities.”x

Those spread sheets of “investment opportunities”, which we call our children, include the incessant number of mind-numbing and unreliable tests designed and evaluated by Pearson that our children are now forced to take.

In 2012 the state of Florida, through their Department of Education, released the following news: “McKinsey has been retained through Gates and Hewlett Foundation funding to develop the business model/establish governing entity to succeed PARCC.xi

Let’s translate that statement. McKinsey was hired to serve as or supervise the GOVERNING ENTITY to deliver state-wide testing/data collection from public school children. The Gates and Hewlett Foundations foot the bill to make this happen.

We all are aware that we have many problems in the educational complex and that we need to see real reforms come to our public school systems. We are also all aware that Common Core was not a solution. We invested billions in applying Common Core standards which now, after taking billions in taxpayer resources, even Bill Gates admits didn’t work.xii While a failure to the children in the classroom, Corporate Welfare tactics advanced by the likes of McKinsey exploited our children in ways that are no different from the exploitation of our children by the Teachers Unions. For them, it was a money making venture; a well-paid ride on the government funded education bandwagon leaving taxpayers and our children in the treads of the tires of that bus.

Now a former McKinsey consultant and partner in the Pittsburgh offices of McKinsey is selling education reform as part of his supposedly “conservative” driven agenda. Coincidentally, Scott Wagner announced his bid for Governor and shortly afterwards came out in a scathing attack against McKinsey and Company for that $1.8 million no-bid contract. Soon afterwards Paul Mango announces his candidacy as a challenger to Scott Wagner.

Paul Mango, in the 2015/16 election cycle, gave $188,142 in political donations to Republican candidates. He tells us that he is a solid Trump supporter and supports the Trump Agenda and yet we find that, of that $188,142, more than $30,000 of that went to Jeb Bush either directly or through his Right To Rise PAC. Jeb Bush was unable to maintain his pursuit of the presidency after conservatives learned of his ties and promotion of Common Core through his Charter Schools. After it became evident that Jeb Bush was out of the primary, Mango then steered his funding to Marco Rubio. It was only after Donald Trump won the Primary that Mango finally made a contribution to Donald Trump; an investment that paled in comparison to the money given to Jeb Bush.

The Right To Rise PAC was a Jeb Bush supporting PAC. To find where there money was coming from I went to their donor list. xiii It’s a virtual who’s who of Common Core Investors. The Washington Post tells us they took in more than $118 million to prop up Jeb Bush’s failed presidential bid. But where did that money go…The Washington Post says:

Almost $87 million went into a barrage of television ads, online videos, slick mailers and voter phone calls. The group flew an airplane with a banner mocking Donald Trump over a rally of his supporters, produced a 15-minute documentary detailing Bush’s biography, sent Bush supporters individual video players, took out a billboard mocking Trump and crammed the airwaves in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In the final days, Right to Rise kept the spigot on, dumping another $1.9 million into South Carolina and Nevada.xiv

An airplane with a banner mocking Donald Trump; a billboard mocking Donald Trump….but wait; Paul Mango tells us he supports Trump and the Trump Agenda!

No Child Left Behind was a government controlled initiative that laid the ground work. Obama’s Race To The Top helped to expand those controls and push Common Core even further. Am I alone in thinking that Right To Rise sounds just a little too similar to the previous government controlled efforts to push for the “investment opportunities” of corporations in the name of violating the personal liberties of our own children.

Remember when Pennsylvania decided to push for legalizing Medical Cannabis as an alternative choice in dealing with many medical issues. If so, you might remember that Big Pharma came out in strong opposition to the legalization and so did the American Medical Association. I had to wonder why? Why wouldn’t the medical “profession” want to see all the options on the table in our healthcare choices?

I was provided with some inside information that the reason for the push against it wasn’t that they really opposed it, the problem was that they hadn’t yet figured out how to corner the market for maximum profit yet. Since that was hearsay with private conversations from insiders involved in this debate I sat on it because, it was hearsay, but then there was this article from U.S. News:

But for Big Pharma and Big Tobacco – who fund these anti-marijuana efforts – it’s really about the bottom line. For years, large corporations and well-heeled lobbyists have blocked the legalization of marijuana for medical use or recreational use in order to protect their own profits…xv

There’s also this from Alan Hirsch, CEO of Diagnostic Lab Corporation, a cannabis safety and science company:

“Big pharma is lobbying against legalization, on the purported grounds of safety, but in reality, they are just buying time to create their own synthetic cannabis medicines,” said Alan Hirsch, “Several biotech companies have started creating cannabinoid chemistry from rice or yeast, but eventually, these medicines will be manufactured by Big Pharma in Schedule 1 facilities.”

Just where was McKinsey on all of this. That’s hard to say…remember the standard talking point is “our firm’s policy is not to discuss any of its work with clients.

I find it very difficult to think that McKinsey played no role in the opposition to the legalization of medical cannabis because, as consultants, they are consultants for Big Pharma and the Healthcare Insurance moguls, not you and me and our healthcare. Time and again, it’s profit margin as the defining measure of what is right and wrong. It is not a matter of what is in our best interest…it’s a matter of “investment opportunities”.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not opposed to profit! I am, however, not at all comfortable with government policy that provides for protected classes within the business world that crushes one business model to protect the profit margin and “investment opportunities” of the Corporate world. I also don’t like being identified as an “Investment Opportunity” where I am an unknowing and unwilling participant in a hidden system where everything I do is going into some centralized data-base to be exploited and used in controlling things like my healthcare choices.

The “Investment Opportunity” mentality is why our Public Servant pension system is in the mess it is. Here’s a case where the private sector is expected to invest, through the barrel of a gun called taxation, to provide for the exorbitant pensions of those in the Public Sector. With little accountability in this investment scheme, we pay, while it is proven time and again that our money is then taken to invest in high-risk entities that fail to return on those investments. It doesn’t matter though because when the returns fail, the “investment opportunity” is there to be forced to pick up the tab. That’s called marketing. It’s also called exploitation.

Our tax dollars are being used to invest in companies that we might choose not to support and in advancing policies and issues that we may passionately disagree with. Once again, as you dig you continue to find the fingerprints of McKinsey. Unfortunately for us, the depth of that will remain largely unknown because, as McKinsey says “our firm’s policy is not to discuss any of its work with clients.” That apparently applies even when it’s taxpayers dollars being used to fund that endeavor. That included that $1.8 million in consulting fees paid to McKinsey by our Governor. I can’t be the only one who sees something wrong with that!

These protected “investment opportunities” provide little gamble for the investors because they are utilizing taxpayer funded incentives in a system of Corporate Welfare. If they fail, we’re the ones on the hook.

Paul Mango tells us that he created jobs through his partnership at McKinsey and Company. Penn-live requested specific information with regards to this claim and campaign adviser Matt Bevins stated “Paul led the growth of a multi-hundred million dollar business at McKinsey & Company and in the course of this hired hundreds of employees over 8 years as the head of this business,” he said. “He also advised scores of clients on growth strategies both within and beyond Pennsylvania.xvi

However, the reputation of McKinsey and Company is not about job-creation. It’s about down-sizing. As the Penn-live article states:

In fact, the record of Mango’s former employer, McKinsey & Co, suggests that they are wizards in the black arts of corporate downsizing.

If what Mr. Bevins said about Paul Mango is true, then Paul Mango is not just another simple consultant or a low-level player at McKinsey. He’s is a policy setter with ties to one of the most influential policy consulting firms that has their hands in things that make most conservatives cringe.

Paul Mango loves to attack Scott Wagner because of a non-discrimination bill Wagner supported and yet one division of McKinsey and Company is their organization called GLAM. It is LGBT centered organiztion allowing GLAM to drive policy for McKinsey and Company.xvii

On their own website they tell us how they push GLAM:

McKinsey is a founding sponsor of groups such as Reaching Out MBA in the United States and Brazil, Out for Undergraduates in Business, IvyQ, and Open for Business, a business-led coalition focused on the business and economic case for global LGBTQ rights.

You will find our LGBTQ consultants at many schools meeting with students and providing insight into the working and welcoming environment at McKinsey.xviii

You can’t have it both ways.

I can go on but this is already, again, much longer than it should be.

It’s simply that I want to know who I’m voting for and with no voting record I need something more reliable than campaign trail rhetoric. I’ll continue to dig deeper and deeper but, so far, with each dig I find myself in new territory learning more and more that McKinsey’s involvement is not nearly so much about consulting but rather about setting and controlling government policy.

In short, I find it hard to believe that Paul Mango wants to drain the swamp because McKinsey is a part of it. Here in Pennsylvania, he was an integral part of McKinsey. Not just a part of it but a key player in making sure the swamp remains to allow for the usual predators that love to hide in the swamps and wait for the next unsuspecting passerby.

Perhaps Paul Mango can cite how he went in to McKinsey and worked from within to change their internal policies. Perhaps he can demonstrate how he opposed the push of McKinsey and Company into the intrusions of our personal liberty and if so, I’d like to hear about that. I’d like to see the evidence where Paul Mango, partner and consultant at Pennsylvania’s office of McKinsey and Company, was the exception to the rule.




PS:  Attacking the messenger without providing proof that what is written here is incorrect is futile.  When a person decides to run for public office, matters like this should be explored and questions should be asked.  When that process is no longer a part of the election debate, we are no longer a republic! 


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