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John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

The context: During the past week, several men have alleged on social media that Weaver sent them unsolicited and sexually suggestive messages, sometimes coupled with offers of employment or political advancement.

  • Last summer, the political strategist and media adviser took a medical leave of absence from the Lincoln Project, a high-dollar anti-Trump super PAC. He told Axios he will not be returning to the group. “The project's defense of the Republic and fight for democracy is vital,” he said.
  • Before the Lincoln Project, Weaver was a top adviser to leading Republicans including John McCain and John Kasich. Amid Donald Trump’s political ascendance, he became one of the most prominent members of the so-called “Never Trump” movement.

While apologetic, Weaver attributed the emergence of the allegations to critics of him and the Lincoln Project.

  • “While I am taking full responsibility for the inappropriate messages and conversations,” Weaver wrote, “I want to state clearly that the other smears being leveled at me ... are categorically false and outrageous.”
  • A spokesman for the Lincoln Project said, "John's statement speaks for itself."

Editor's note: Updates to add link to statement, Weaver's most recent position.

Read John Weaver's statement:

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.