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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 2 hours ago - World

In photos: Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas intensify aerial bombardments

People gather at the site of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on May 11. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Scoop: Stephanie Murphy announcing challenge to Marco Rubio

Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in early June, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Murphy is a proven fundraiser. Jumping in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inside the GOP's infrastructure strategy

Sen. Roger Wicker. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top Republican senators are hoping the White House will make some sort of counteroffer to their infrastructure proposal when they meet with President Biden on Thursday, lawmakers and their aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is a sign of how serious the negotiations are, they say. In advance of the meeting, some of the senators are already publicly signaling the areas in which they have flexibility.