Monday, 15 November 2021

Australia's Morrison Government appears to be living proof of that old adage, birds of a feather do flock together

IMAGE: Woodcut illustration of Vultures — Vector by ronjoe

Anyone who has been delving into Scott Morrison & Angus Taylor’s 98 page AUSTRALIA’S LONG-TERM EMISSIONS REDUCTION PLAN: Modelling and Analysis (Dept. of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources: DISER) document and, attempting to pin down where within its content examples of genuine modelling relying on science, fact-based assumptions and realistic projections, might have seen the name McKinsey & Company crop up on no less than 76 occasions.

That name rang a bell. Here is a brief background…….

The New York Times, 28 October 2021, p.6:

.a revolt has been brewing inside the world's most influential consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, over its support of the planet's biggest polluters.

More than 1,100 employees and counting have signed an open letter to the firm's top partners, urging them to disclose how much carbon their clients spew into the atmosphere. "The climate crisis is the defining issue of our generation," wrote the letter's authors, nearly a dozen McKinsey consultants. "Our positive impact in other realms will mean nothing if we do not act as our clients alter the earth irrevocably."

Several of the authors have resigned since the letter, which has never before been reported, came out last spring -- with one sending out a widely shared email that cited McKinsey's continued work with fossil fuel companies as a primary reason for his departure…..[my yellow highlighting]

The Hill, 27 October 2021:

... Since then, some of the letter's authors, who are consultants at McKinsey, have resigned from the company which is considered the world's most influential consulting firm, the Times reported.

Lawsuits, internal documents and interviews with four ex-McKinsey employees showed that McKinsey has advised at least 43 of the world's top 100 polluters in the past 50 years, per the Times.

The investigation by the Times found that those clients alone, excluding some of McKinsey's other clients who also contribute to pollution, accounted for over one-third of global carbon emissions in 2018.

At least one consultant who resigned specifically cited McKinsey's work with fossil fuel companies as his main reason for leaving. The Environmental Protection Agency has noted that "burning fossil fuels changes the climate more than any other human activity."

Walking away from these sectors might appease absolutist critics,” D.J. Carella, a spokesman for McKinsey, said to the Times, adding that it "would do nothing to solve the climate challenge."…. [my yellow highlighting]

The New York Times, 6 November 2021:

A House committee has requested documents related to the firm's advice to drug makers and potential conflicts of interest with the F.D.A.

In a new assault on the global consulting giant McKinsey & Company, Congress on Friday started an investigation into the firm's role in the opioid crisis, sending a letter demanding records related to its "business practices, conflicts of interest and management standards."

The 12-page letter, which was sent by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, asked for names of McKinsey clients in the health care industry as well as documents connected to its work with opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The committee is also looking at how McKinsey's consulting for drugmakers may conflict with work it has done for the Food and Drug Administration.

By advising opioid makers and "the federal agency regulating their conduct," McKinsey "may have had a significant negative impact on Americans' health," the committee said.

The letter was signed by the committee's chairwoman, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, who requested that McKinsey produce the documents by Nov. 19. McKinsey has a policy of not identifying its clients or the advice it gives.

A spokesman for the firm on Friday said McKinsey had "received the committee's letter and will engage directly with the committee regarding their requests."

This year, McKinsey agreed to pay all 50 states more than $600 million to settle investigations into how it had helped "turbocharge" opioid sales, focusing mostly on its work with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. McKinsey did not admit any wrongdoing.

The request on Friday follows a narrower one on Aug. 23, from a bipartisan group of six U.S. senators seeking records from the F.D.A. on its work with McKinsey at the same time that it was regulating opioid manufacturers, calling that relationship "a potential conflict of interest." The senators asked for more information about the firm's work with the F.D.A. division that approved certain classes of drugs, including prescription opioids.

OxyContin and similar painkillers can be addictive and prone to abuse. From 1999 to 2019, nearly 500,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…..  [my yellow highlighting]

Reuters, 18 August 2021:

McKinsey earlier this year reached agreements with state attorneys general to pay $641 million to resolve claims it helped drug manufacturers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, to design marketing plans and boost sales of painkillers.

Lawsuits by cities, counties and others followed, and Breyer now oversees at least 51 cases…. [my yellow highlighting]

The New York Times, 3 December 2019 - updated 24 February 2021:

Just days after he took office in 2017, President Trump set out to make good on his campaign pledge to halt illegal immigration. In a pair of executive orders, he ordered “all legally available resources” to be shifted to border detention facilities, and called for hiring 10,000 new immigration officers.

The logistical challenges were daunting, but as luck would have it, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already had a partner on its payroll: McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm brought on under the Obama administration to help engineer an “organizational transformation” in the ICE division charged with deporting migrants who are in the United States unlawfully.

ICE quickly redirected McKinsey toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House’s clampdown on illegal immigration.

But the money-saving recommendations the consultants came up with made some career ICE workers uncomfortable. They proposed cuts in spending on food for migrants, as well as on medical care and supervision of detainees, according to interviews with people who worked on the project for both ICE and McKinsey and 1,500 pages of documents obtained from the agency after ProPublica filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act…. [my yellow highlighting]

The New York Times, 9 January 2019:

A judge in Virginia reopened a more than two-year-old case on Wednesday to consider accusations that the powerful consultancy McKinsey & Company had defrauded his court while advising a bankrupt coal company…..

McKinsey already faces similar claims of misconduct from Mr. Alix in the bankruptcy of another energy company, Westmoreland Coal, in Texas…. [my yellow highlighting]

Financial Times, 20 February 2019:

McKinsey has agreed to a $15m settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve claims that the influential consulting firm failed to properly disclose conflicts of interest in bankruptcy cases over two decades.

The settlement on Tuesday is among the largest made by a bankruptcy professional accused of failing to comply with disclosure rules, according to the justice department, and adds to the mounting scrutiny of the professional services giant.... 
[my yellow highlighting], 4 December 2020:

The USTP [US Trustee Program] started the mediation with McKinsey in 2019 after noting that the consulting firm withheld “critical details” about connections to parties with a potential economic interest in the $1.4 billion Westmoreland bankruptcy case.

Westmoreland Coal emerged from Chapter 11 in June 2019. McKinsey, however, will forgo its fees for the advisory work performed, which the watchdog estimates at millions of dollars…. [my yellow highlighting]