Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Lincoln Project co-founder resigns

lincoln project steve schmidt
Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt. Photo: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt is resigning from the group's board amid a series of scandals that has rocked the high-dollar anti-Trump super PAC, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Schmidt, a veteran Republican operative, is the latest and most high-profile departure from the group, which is reeling from revelations that another co-founder, John Weaver, used offers of professional advancement in a series of attempts to solicit sex from young men.

Background: Schmidt's resignation comes amid a wave of damaging stories for the Lincoln Project.

  • The New York Times reported last month on allegations from 21 men that Weaver sent them unsolicited and sexually charged messages. One was 14 years old at the time, according to the report.
  • Multiple people have reportedly been contacted by federal law enforcement regarding the alleged conduct. The Lincoln Project said it has hired an external law firm to conduct an investigation into the matter.
  • The AP reported that the majority of the $90 million that the Lincoln Project has raised was paid to consulting firms tied to the group's founders and senior staff.
  • On Thursday, the group's official Twitter account tweeted screenshots of messages between a former senior staffer and a reporter writing a story on the group. Lincoln Project co-founder George Conway suggested the disclosures may have been illegal.

That series of controversies led to a number of resignations from the group this week.

  • Lincoln Project senior advisor Kurt Bardella confirmed to Axios that he also resigned from the group Friday.
  • Nayyera Haq, who signed on to host a video series for the group this week, also resigned on Friday.
  • Columnist Tom Nichols said on Friday he was "stepping down as an unpaid advisor."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify Kurt Bardella's former title.

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