The Lincoln Project’s co-founders reportedly included John Weaver in its plans for a new media venture after he went on leave amid sexual misconduct allegations

John Weaver
In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, John Weaver is shown on a campaign bus in Bow, N.H.

  • Embattled former Lincoln Project leader John Weaver was included in plans for a new media venture.
  • The New York Times reports that Weaver signed on to be a part of TLP Media in October 2020.
  • Weaver had gone on leave in August 2020 after an internal review of inappropriate behavior.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee created by a group of Republican political strategists, had plans to include embattled co-founder John Weaver in its plans to build a media venture while Weaver was on leave amid sexual harassment allegations, according to The New York Times.

Weaver, a former campaign strategist for 2008 presidential candidate John McCain and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was involved in the Lincoln Project from its inception. He had been distanced from the project since August 2020 but still had a hand in the creation of the media project.

The Times reported that in late October 2020, shortly before the presidential election, Weaver and fellow co-founders Steve Schmidt, Reed Galen, and Rick Wilson started making moves to establish a new venture together, called TLP Media. Weaver was formally still on leave but all four signed a “27-page agreement” to each put in $100,000 for TLP Media.

The Times reported that in the late October pitch meeting for the media venture, Schmidt referred to Weaver as a “black box.”

A Lincoln Project spokeswoman told The Times that TLP Media “is an inactive company – it only ever existed on paper, never conducted any business, and was never capitalized by its due date, making it null. There are no plans to use this business in the future.”

Beginning in late 2020, news outlets, including the American Conservative, Forensic News, The Times, and others, published accounts of dozens of young men who said Weaver communicated with them in sexually inappropriate ways, including offering them job opportunities and other professional perks in exchange for sex.

In a January 2021 statement, Weaver apologized for those communications with young men and came out as gay, saying of the messages he sent to the men, “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”

Following the publicizing of the allegations, the Associated Press reported that the Lincoln Project’s leadership team had been made aware of the claims via an email in June 2020.

However, The Times on Monday reported that the top brass at the Lincoln Project were made aware of the allegations as early as January 2020, and only conducted a limited review of the claims in the summer. The allegations against Weaver are now being investigated by an independent law firm hired by the Lincoln Project.

As Vanity Fair reported, the Lincoln Project’s ambitious plans for a media empire, including potential movie, TV, podcast, and book projects, fizzled out amid the Weaver allegations and scrutiny over the group’s finances and leadership structure. The Times reported that $27 million of the group’s fundraising haul directly flowed to Galen’s consulting firm and from there, to the co-founders themselves.

Those factors led to immense turmoil among the group’s top leadership and members, some of which played out in the public sphere. One former adviser, lawyer George Conway, called for the project to be disbanded altogether.

Schmidt, for his part, stepped down from the board after a public dispute with another former Lincoln Project leader Jennifer Horn, which included the group sending out a scathing public statement about Horn and then leaking Horn’s private Twitter messages with a reporter from the 19th News.

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The Lincoln Project threatens Rudy Giuliani with legal action after he linked the group to the Capitol riot

trump
Former President Donald Trump (L), Rudy Giuliani (C), and former White House strategist, Steve Bannon (R).

  • The Lincoln Project threatened to sue Rudy Giuliani for defamation on Saturday.
  • The legal threat comes after Giuliani alleged that the group had helped organize the Capitol siege.
  • The anti-Trump group has given Giuliani until February 3 to apologize and retract his false statements.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Lincoln Project threatened to sue Rudy Giuliani for defamation on Saturday after the lawyer falsely claimed the group had helped organize the deadly Capitol riot.

During an interview on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast on Friday, Giuliani alleged that the Republican group had secretly disguised themselves as Trump supporters during the January 6 riot, which resulted in the deaths of five people including a police officer.

Bannon himself challenged Giuliani on that claim, repeatedly asking him during the interview where he got that information from.

“I don’t know if I can reveal his name,” Giuliani responded. “Because we have that from anonymous sources. But he worked in the past for [Utah Senator Mitt] Romney.”

Read more: Donald Trump didn’t pardon himself. A massive tsunami of legal peril now awaits him.

The founder of the Lincoln Project, Steve Schmidt, told MSNBC on Saturday he was “thrilled” at the prospect of not only suing Giuliani for defamation but also going after Trump and Bannon.

” Steve Bannon knows he’s going to get sued by us also, and he is, and so is Donald Trump who is Rudy Giuliani’s client, and Rudy Giuliani is acting on his behest,” Schmidt said, according to MSNBC.

“But look, it is very difficult to sue somebody for defamation or libel in the United States, but our lawyers are telling us that Rudy is well across the line so we’re thrilled about this,” he added.

On the same day, the group’s attorney posted a letter on Twitter warning of a lawsuit unless Giuliani publicly apologizes for his accusations.

 

“You committed a textbook case of defamation,” Matthew Sanderson wrote in the letter. “You publicly accused The Lincoln Project of an infamous and criminal act it had nothing to do with, as you very well knew. You lied.”

The group has given gave Giuliani until February 3 to retract his statement. 

Giuliani is already facing several legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, which is seeking $1.3 billion in damages after he made a series of wild and baseless claims that the company was involved in rigging the presidential election.

The Lincoln Project was started in late 2019 by former GOP operatives, including political strategist Rick Wilson and Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway.

Over the months, the group has gained a reputation for its memes and ads bashing Trump, including billboards in New York City in October last year that mocked Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

After Giuliani’s interview with Bannon, the group took to Twitter to make fun of Trump’s former lawyer for going from calling for “trial by combat” to blaming them for the insurrection in a matter of weeks.

 

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