Law firm hired by Lincoln Project clears leaders of wrongdoing

A law firm hired earlier this year by The Lincoln Project to review harassment allegations against one of its co-founders, John Weaver, said it had found no information indicating that leaders of the anti-Trump political group were aware of the accusations before they were reported by news outlets. 

The Lincoln Project on Tuesday tweeted a memo that was also shared with Lincoln Project supporters announcing that following a four-month investigation led by law firm Paul Hastings LLP, attorneys “found no evidence that anyone at The Lincoln Project was aware of any inappropriate communications with any underage individuals at any time prior to the publication of those news reports.” 

The New York Times reported in January that 21 men had accused Weaver of sending them unwanted messages and pressuring them for sexual favors in exchange for jobs and career advice. One of the people who received the messages said they began when he was 14 years old. 

ADVERTISEMENT

According to The Lincoln Project, lawyers at Paul Hastings also “found no communications nor conduct reported to The Lincoln Project or its leadership involving Mr. Weaver and any employee, contractor or volunteer that would rise to the level of actionable sexual harassment.” 

However, the political group noted that as part of its “own separate organizational review,” it has “identified areas for improvement as we evolve from a newly formed super PAC focused on defeating Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE to a long-term organization dedicated to upholding the principles of democracy.” 

“These include formalizing human resources, implementing trainings for staff and senior leadership, changes to the hiring and promotion process, and professionalizing management,” the group added. 

The memo concluded, “We are appreciative of everyone’s support and participation throughout this process.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcement comes even after some news reports indicated that people at The Lincoln Project may have previously been aware of the allegations. 

In February, The 19th’s Amanda Becker reported that multiple sources — including Sarah Lenti, the group’s former executive director — said that co-founders knew about the allegations as early as March 2020. 

Among those who reportedly knew were co-founders Steve Schmidt and Reed Galen, who said in a statement to The 19th at the time, “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,” he added. 

Schmidt resigned from the group’s board in February after its Twitter account posted screenshots of private messages between Becker and former Lincoln Project member Jennifer Horn. 

The probe findings come as many have raised questions about the independence of the investigation, with Becker noting Tuesday that some lawyers employed at Paul Hastings had made financial contributions to The Lincoln Project in the past. 

The Hill has reached out to the law firm for comment.