Several leaders and spokespeople announced they were leaving The Lincoln Project following the anti-Trump political action committee’s handling of sexual misconduct accusations against one of its founders, as well as the group’s poor financial management.
Over 20 young men have accused co-founder John Weaver of sending sexually inappropriate messages.
The Times interviewed 21 men who received the messages. In one case, the interactions reportedly went from words to physical contact, but that instance was consensual.
Co-founder Steve Schmidt resigned from The Lincoln Project Friday evening, saying that he was “incandescently angry” about the allegations against Weaver, Politico reported.
“I detest John Weaver in a way I can’t articulate,” Schmidt wrote in a statement that revealed his own experiences of being molested when he was young.
“My heart breaks that young men felt unseen and unheard in an organization that I started. I am ashamed of it.”
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) February 13, 2021
Spokespeople Kurt Bardella and Nayyera Haq, as well as foreign affairs columnist Tom Nichols, all announced their departures Friday.
Jennifer Horn, a senior figure at the organization, resigned last week over the organization’s handling of the accusations.
“When I spoke to one of the founders to raise my objections and concerns, I was yelled at, demeaned and lied to,” Horn wrote in a Thursday night statement, according to The New York Times.
Politico reported George Conway, a former Lincoln Project official and husband of former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, has also left the organization.
Six former associates and employees of the PAC wrote a letter Thursday night to leaders of The Lincoln Project, demanding to be released from their nondisclosure agreements in order to talk about the allegations against Weaver, according to The Times.
The former workers, who The Times did not name, said they wanted to disclose information “that would aid the press, public and our donors in answering questions relevant to the public interest.”
The organization said that former employees should contact them directly in order to be released, but the signatories of the letter said they were not comfortable doing that.
“Expecting victims and those close to victims to contact and engage the people and organization accused of protecting the very predator at issue is absurd, unreasonable and insensitive,” the former employees wrote.
An outside investigator is being hired to review Weaver’s tenure with the organization, officials for The Lincoln Project said Thursday night.
Axios reported the PAC has also faced other scandals, including the fact that $90 million of its funds raised were paid to consulting firms tied to founders and senior staff, as well as the issue of the organization publicly releasing, and later deleting, messages between a former staffer and a reporter writing a story on the group that may have been in violation of nondisclosure policies.
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