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Lincoln Project forming 'transition advisory committee' amid calls to close

Lincoln Project forming 'transition advisory committee' amid calls to close
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The Lincoln Project plans to form a “transition advisory committee” as it faces calls to shut down amid reports of a toxic work environment, the anti-Trump Republican group's executive director announced.

In a memo to staff on Wednesday obtained by PoliticoFred Wellman also said that the organization needs to “get our own house in order” before pursuing its “ambitious agenda.” 

The temporary committee will provide “its full support and cooperation to the internal investigation” involving allegations of harassment against co-founder John Weaver and “any systemic workplace culture issues.” Wellman also wrote that the committee “will ensure that the proper corrections are made” and publish a stewardship report for donors to see where their money has gone. 

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“The internal workplace concerns that have come to light are troubling and disturbing and we are committed to fixing them,” Wellman wrote, noting that the group has hired a law firm to “investigate allegations of inappropriate behavior” by Weaver.

“We not only want to build a better country, we want to build The Lincoln Project into a more sustainable platform to increase our ability to affect the national political debate,” Wellman added, noting the group needed more “organizational structures and processes to continue our evolution.”

The Lincoln Project’s Tara Setmayer was named chair of the new committee, and Wellman said he will serve as its vice chair. The panel will consist of “core members of our leadership team” as well as at least one person from the community. 

The committee's formation comes as two former top officials at the organization, including co-founder George ConwayGeorge ConwayLincoln Project forming 'transition advisory committee' amid calls to close The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats ready mammoth relief bill for 10-day sprint Lincoln Project faces calls to shut down MORE, have publicly supported proposals to shut The Lincoln Project down.  

The calls for closure follow the emergence of allegations that Weaver harassed 21 men and sent explicit messages saying he could connect them to jobs in politics, The New York Times reported. Weaver is no longer with The Lincoln Project.

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Accusations have also surfaced that top executives at The Lincoln Project knew about the allegations against Weaver earlier than first indicated. Eight former employees have also requested to be released from their nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their experiences. 

In a previous statement, The Lincoln Project claimed that “recently published stories” were “filled with inaccuracies, incorrect information, and reliant exclusively on anonymous sources.”

“However, there is a central truth in all of them that must be reckoned with and that is John Weaver’s appalling conduct and the abuse he inflicted on people,” it added. 

Anti-Trump Republicans launched The Lincoln Project in December 2019, aiming to block the former president's reelection. But Wellman noted in his memo it is also committed to “defeating Trumpism more broadly.”