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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.

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - World

Gaza crisis: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip leave their neighborhood on Wednesday following an explosion. Photo: li Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is dispatching a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts.

The latest: The Israeli air force attacked a meeting of senior Hamas military leaders on Wednesday in Gaza and reported it had killed the Gaza City Brigade commander and the heads of Hamas’ cyber arm and weapons research and development department, along with at least three other senior officials.

Former Pentagon chief blames media "hysteria" for lack of troops on Jan. 6

Former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller told the House Oversight Committee Wednesday that he limited the deployment of National Guard troops at the Capitol ahead of Jan. 6 in part due to media "hysteria" about "the possibility of a military coup."

Why it matters: William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, previously testified that a three-hour delay in approval for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was exacerbated by "unusual" restrictions on his authorities by Pentagon leadership.

2 hours ago - World

Negotiations to oust Netanyahu stall amid Jerusalem crisis

Netanyahu holds a cabinet meeting this week. Photo: Amit Shabi/POOL/AFP via Getty

Efforts to form a new Israeli government and oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have come to an almost complete halt amid the escalation with Hamas.

Why it matters: Opposition leader Yair Lapid is six days into a 28-day mandate, and seemed on track to strike a coalition deal with Naftali Bennett, a right-wing kingmaker. But the latest crisis could make those efforts nearly impossible.