The Lincoln Project, a group consisting largely of former high-powered Republican consultants bent on undermining former President Donald Trump, has been embroiled in controversy over the last several weeks — and now, things just got even worse for them.
The scandal exploded this week when The New York Times revealed that a number of former employees and associates of the Lincoln Project had requested to be released from their non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in order to shed more light on the controversy surrounding John Weaver, a co-founder of the project who has been accused of — and who has admitted to — making unwanted sexual advances to young men with the promise of employment connections and other perks.
What’s going on now?
At the crux of the issue — among many evolving issues concerning the group — is that the leaders of the group have routinely denied that they knew anything about Weaver’s despicable behavior prior to several news stories breaking over the past few weeks.
A number of former members of the group have disputed that notion and are apparently eager to fill in reports with their inside knowledge of how the group handled — or mishandled, rather — the brewing scandal within the group’s ranks.
In a move to exert maximum pressure on the leaders of the organization, the former members who want out of their NDAs penned an open letter and sent it to The New York Times in which they indicated that their inside information “would aid the press, public and our donors in answering questions relevant to the public interest.”
The “donors” part of the equation is also interesting, as the group literally collected tens of millions of dollars in donations from other anti-Trump Republicans and groups. It’s not a stretch to assume that some of those donors have questions that they would like answered sooner than later.
Independent reporter Glenn Greenwald recently drew attention to the lucrative run that the anti-Trump group had in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, pointing out on his Substack blog that it was most profitable for the group’s founders, as detailed reports show that a large portion of the donations the group received went to companies owned by or associated with its founders.
Just wait – it gets worse
Beyond finances, though, the Lincoln Project still has another big thorn in its side: Weaver. Former co-founder of the group, Jennifer Horn, abruptly resigned last week, saying she was “yelled at, demeaned and lied to” by fellow group leaders after raising questions about Weaver’s behavior, as the Times reported.
The scandal blew up again this week after The Associated Press reported that “in June 2020, members of the organization’s leadership were informed in writing and in subsequent phone calls of at least 10 specific allegations of harassment against co-founder John Weaver, including two involving Lincoln Project employees.”
We now know that not only did the leaders of the group fail to take action at that time, but there’s also the added layer of at least two of Weavers’ victims working within the ranks of the group.
Last month, when reporters had only scratched the surface of the scandal, it was enough of a scare for Weaver to admit that he was in the wrong. He issued a statement to Axios in which he confessed to the inappropriate behavior and offered an apology to his victims:
To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry.
But will it be enough to save his reputation? I wouldn’t hold my breath.