Never Trump Lincoln Project Thrown Into Turmoil Amid Sex Scandal, Personnel Shakeup

The Lincoln Project struggles to retain its positive public image after alleged self-dealing, sex scandal, and a personnel shakeup

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Back in 2019, The Lincoln Project was launched to allegedly “preserve American democracy from the alleged threat that President Donald Trump posed to it.”

Only a year later, President Trump is no longer in office, and the project is struggling to retain its influence and relevance, due to public scandal, major personnel turnover, and apparent infighting among its founders.

In mid-January, the group faced harsh criticism after veteran Republican operative John Weaver, admitted to having sent sexual messages to many men while married to his wife.

Later that month, after the New York Times reported that there are more than 20 men who claimed they have received “unsolicited and sexually provocative messages,” the scandal grew to immense proportions.

The Times reported:

“Weaver sent overt sexual solicitations to at least 10 of the men and, in the most explicit messages, offered professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex.”

Among these was a 14-year-old boy, whom Weaver asked inappropriate questions about his body while the boy was still in high school.

At the outset of the scandal, Weaver resigned. His fellow members of the project claimed they have been unaware of his indiscretions.

However, journalist Ryan Girdusky, who originally broke the story, maintained that well before the scandal broke in the mainstream press, both the Lincoln Project and members of the media were knowledgeable of Weaver’s behavior.

He wrote:

“When young men approached them they ignored it. When they heard I was working on the story they warned Weaver. When I wrote a story they said nothing. When Axios published a story they said he’s just gay. Now he’s a predator. Project Lincoln [sic] lied. They knew. They’re complicit.”

After Weaver’s confession, The Lincoln Project immediately went into damage control, vowing to correct its errors once the full extent of his alleged actions became known.

 Founding member Rick Wilson urged Weaver’s targets to speak out, either to media or to the Lincoln Project itself, assuring them:

“We’ll be there for you and with you.”

Not long afterward, the group dealt with another public turmoil, when another one of its co-founders, veteran Republican politician Jennifer Horn, announced her resignation from the group.

She stated that her leaving was a result of “John Weaver’s grotesque and inappropriate behavior, coupled with his longstanding deceptions concerning that behavior.”

Yet, surprisingly, the Lincoln Project later disputed her claims, suggesting that she had quit over monetary disputes.

On Friday afternoon, shortly after Horn’s announcement, the group tweeted that just two days earlier Horn “requested from the Lincoln Project an immediate ‘signing bonus’ payment of $250,000 and a $40,000 per month consulting contract.”

“This followed a Christmas Eve communication from Jennifer, where she demanded a board seat on the Lincoln Project, a television show, a podcast hosting assignment, and staff to manage these endeavors. She also stated her goal was to ‘establish immediate and long-term financial security.'” 

The group added that it “unanimously rejected” Horn’s demands, “immediately accepted” her resignation, and “wish[ed] her the best in her future endeavors.”

Neither Horn nor many members of the Lincoln Project did not comment on the issue.

Yet, this is not the first time the anti-Trump organization has faced public scrutiny over its business practices and personnel choices.

Last year, a review of political expenditures revealed that it had funneled millions of dollars into a firm run by the Lincoln Project’s own treasurer.

The conservative group Club for Growth accused the Lincoln Project of being a “get rich quick scheme,” while the president of Club for Growth maintained the project was a “Democratic front group” whose leaders had been “funneling donations to their own organizations to line their pockets.”

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Meanwhile, the group found itself a conduit of Iranian disinformation in October, by claiming that the Proud Boys, a right-wing political group, were scaring voters away from the polls.

The Lincoln Project is listed by the Center for Responsive Politics as having raised nearly $90 million throughout the 2020 election cycle. At the end of the election season, the project has garnered nearly $5,450,000 in its reserves.


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