Lincoln Project leadership knew about harassment accusations against co-founder since March – report

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Despite denying knowledge of allegations that colleague John Weaver was sexually harassing young men, a new report suggests Lincoln Project co-founders Steve Schmidt and Reed Galen were aware for nearly a year.

Schmidt, who stepped away from the group on Monday, said he was not aware of any wrongdoings by Weaver until the first public reports began surfacing in January.

According to a report from The 19th, however, multiple sources have now revealed that Schmidt is among the leadership in the organization to have known about allegations against Weaver for months. In Schmidt and Galen’s case, they could have known as far back as March of 2020.

Sources confirmed that Sarah Lenti, the group’s previous executive director, knew about the allegations since May 2020, which was when Weaver took a medical leave of absence. Co-founder Ron Steslow was also aware of Weaver’s alleged conduct and even worked unsuccessfully to have him removed. 

The group has hired the law firm Paul Hastings to conduct a “comprehensive review of our operations and culture.” 




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“We are committed to creating a positive, diverse, and inclusive workplace environment at The Lincoln Project and inappropriate behavior by anyone associated with the organization will not be tolerated under any circumstances. We have already taken decisive action to address internal concerns,” they said in a recent statement.

Weaver has been accused of making unwanted sexual advances on numerous younger men, offering career advancement – in one case with Lincoln Project – in exchange for sexual favors. Weaver responded to the mounting accusations by apologizing and saying he believed the advances were all consensual and admitting he had been living as a closeted gay man for years.

While the Lincoln Project was celebrated heavily on the left thanks to their numerous anti-Donald Trump ads and their Republican founders’ vows to join Democrats in their political battle, it has found itself mired in controversy this year. On top of the Weaver allegations, co-founder Jennifer Horn left the company only to have her private correspondence with a journalist made public, ultimately leading to Schmidt’s resignation.

The group’s finances have also come under scrutiny as it was revealed much of the financing – they raised nearly $90 million – was sent to firms owned by the group’s co-founders. 

Numerous groups and individuals have cut ties with the group, including Anedot, which handled donations for the group. As a result, the group has been unable to process donations since Friday.

Many critics of the Lincoln Project from both sides said they have seen new reports as validating to their past accusations.

“Somehow, it turns out that @ProjectLincoln was even scummier, [more] dishonest, and more of a fraudulent scam than those of us most loudly warning about it for two years could possibly have imagined,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted in response to The 19th report.

Despite the mounting controversies, the company has vowed to continue moving forward “producing and distributing our popular content and commentary” while internal reviews are underway.

“We have important work ahead of us and we have created a nationwide movement of Americans who support our objectives,” the group claims.

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