Sen. Marco Rubio criticized one of America’s largest and most elite consulting firms Saturday for forbidding employees to participate in protests supporting a Russian opposition leader.
The Florida Republican denounced McKinsey & Company in a letter sent to Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader for preventing the staff from publicly supporting Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after he was poisoned and detained by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“[I]t strains credulity to believe the managing partner of Russia and CIS incorrectly characterized how McKinsey policy sought to interact with the Putin regime in his original email,” Rubio wrote. “Despite efforts to correct public perception now, this episode raises serious questions about McKinsey’s core values and corporate culture.”
“It is no secret that McKinsey maintains close business ties to Russian government agencies and Kremlin-linked companies,” Rubio continued.
McKinsey has consultants working in 130 cities across 65 countries, according to its website.
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) January 24, 2021
Rubio has previously criticized the firm its relationships with authoritarian governments, such as the Chinese Communist Party and Kremlin-linked companies, according to the letter. He wrote that the managing partner for McKinsey’s North America operations, Liz Hilton Segel, gave his office “radically different” information regarding the company’s posture toward authoritarian regimes’ politics.
“With every new report of McKinsey & Company’s work with authoritarian regimes, I grow increasingly concerned about its work on behalf of the U.S. Government,” Rubio wrote. (RELATED: Over 1,600 Arrested During Anti-Kremlin Protests)
Rubio questioned how the firm’s “no participation” stance was developed and whether the firm or any employees consulted with the Russian government prior to implementing the measure, according to the letter. An email from the firm encouraged employees to “stay neutral” and detailed a mandatory policy that prohibits employees from participating either publicly or privately in any political activity.
“As the initial guidance emailed to Moscow-based employees suggests, the company is little more than a tool for authoritarian repression,” Rubio wrote. “The Russian people deserve better. Russians are taking to the streets to protest a corrupt regime run by the thuggish despot Vladimir Putin who does everything in his power to silence dissent, including by poisoning and killing those who oppose him.”
The firm backtracked and allowed employees to participate in legal activities, according to Rubio.
“McKinsey supports its employees’ rights to participate legally and in a personal capacity in civic and political activities across the countries we operate in,” a company spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation after publication. “The recognition of these rights is unqualified.”
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