Lincoln Project announces review of co-founder's tenure following harassment allegations

Lincoln Project announces review of co-founder's tenure following harassment allegations
© © Getty Images

The anti-Trump GOP group the Lincoln Project announced on Thursday that it is hiring an outside body to review John Weaver’s tenure at the organization after harassment allegations against the co-founder of the group surfaced. 

“The Lincoln Project Board decided this afternoon to retain a best-in-class outside professional to review Mr. Weaver’s tenure with the organization and to establish both accountability and best practices going forward for The Lincoln Project,” the announcement, obtained by The Hill via email, states. 

Weaver, a lifelong Republican who worked on the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden steps onto global stage with high-stakes UN speech Biden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance MORE’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign and co-founded the Lincoln Project, was accused of harassing 21 men, with one saying the messages began when he was 14.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to a report from The New York Times, Weaver allegedly sent sexually provocative and aggressive messages to young men, suggesting that he could help them get a job in politics. The newspaper reports that none of the men except for one became physically involved with Weaver, and the person who did was consenting. 

In addition, none of the men accused the group's co-founder of unlawful conduct. Many however, told the Times that they felt pressured to interact with Weaver, 61, who held significant sway in a field that they wanted to work in. 

A message reviewed by the Times from Weaver to one of the men reportedly said that the Republican was going to "spoil" him when they saw each other. 

“Help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually," the message continued, according to the Times. 

The Lincoln Project has said that it learned of these allegations through reporting from outlets like The American Conservative.

Steve Schmidt, another co-founder of the group, said he had become aware that Weaver might be involved in relationships with men, but “There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time," according to the Times. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Schmidt stated that Weaver also denied these claims. 

In its Thursday evening statement, the group called Weaver's alleged actions "despicable and deceptive." 

The Lincoln Project believes the members of our movement and the victims of John Weaver’s despicable and deceptive behavior are owed the facts, and you will have them,” their statement reads. “John Weaver betrayed all of us and you deserve the facts presented independently through a transparent process.”

The organization stated that it will no longer comment on the situation until the review is complete. 

The group continued, stating that these allegations have “enabled the enemies of American democracy to unfairly and misleadingly attack us and we will not back down.”