UPDATE, Jan. 16, 2020: Following publication of this article, Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver released a statement to Axios apologizing for “inappropriate” actions.
“To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said in his statement.
“The truth is that I’m gay,” he said. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”
Weaver also said he took a medical leave of absence from The Lincoln Project over the summer and will not be returning to the organization.
The Lincoln Project also released a statement reading: “John’s statement speaks for itself.”
The original article remains below as published:
The Lincoln Project has not commented on allegations of sexual misconduct against one of its founders, though the organization has scrubbed some references to him from its website.
Conservative writer Ryan Girdusky tweeted Jan. 9 that multiple young men had sent him screenshots of predatory messages from Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver.
Weaver formerly worked on the presidential campaigns of John McCain and John Kasich.
Girdusky, a Lincoln Project critic, followed up this announcement with a story in The American Conservative describing Weaver’s alleged “predatory actions” and grooming of young men.
“As they continue to grift and target private citizens who worked for the administration, it’s important to point out that one of their founding members was using their organization and the promise of a job in politics to prey on young men,” Girdusky wrote of the Lincoln Project.
Maybe I should start talking about one of the founding members of the Lincoln Project offering jobs to young men in exchange for sex… his wife is probably interested https://t.co/vAtUS9aPPl
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) January 9, 2021
Weaver has not publicly denied the allegations. The Lincoln Project has also not addressed the allegations, despite many requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation beginning Jan. 11.
“You will have to reach out to John directly about that,” the Lincoln Project’s communications adviser Ryan Wiggins told the DCNF. He did not answer further inquiries about the allegations.
Weaver has not answered the DCNF’s phone calls or emailed requests for comment.
An archive of the “Our Team” page on the Lincoln Project’s website shows that Weaver was listed on the page as of Jan. 11, but the page no longer exists. The Lincoln Project did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment regarding the removal of the page.
One man whose identity Girdusky kept anonymous said he communicated with a number of young men to whom Weaver offered a job in exchange for sex. Girdusky wrote that Weaver would demand sex and then not make good on the job offer.
Forensic News reporter Scott Stedman reviewed messages from over a dozen men between 19 and 26 years old who alleged that Weaver sent them “uncomfortable and sometimes sexually explicit messages” after they originally connected with him in a professional capacity.
Some of these men responded and engaged in “sexually-charged conversations” with Weaver, Stedman said.
He also reported that Weaver would dangle his political connections to try to win sexual favors, often initiating contact through direct messages on Twitter and later phone calls.
“The crux of the complaints levied by the men is that Weaver used his position of power to exploit them as they were beginning their careers,” Stedman wrote.
Stedman, who described receiving sexually aggressive messages from Weaver himself, also reported that the Lincoln Project co-founder “flew political ambitious men to his location for massages and offered jobs in exchange for sexual relations.”
Weaver allegedly offered Stedman a “joint venture” and asked to speak to him on the phone multiple times, which Stedman said he declined.
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