Behold the power of released NDAs. The website 19th News reports that several sources now say that the The Lincoln Project’s leadership knew about Weaver’s issues months longer than previously acknowledged. Instead of June, as John noted as late as yesterday, the timeline has now shifted to March — and contradicts Steve Schmidt:
Some of the leaders of the embattled Lincoln Project knew about sexual harassment allegations against co-founder John Weaver as early as March, multiple sources, including the group’s former executive director, told The 19th late Monday. …
Multiple individuals began coming forward late Monday to discuss the allegations related to Weaver, and the timeline on which other senior management knew about them, after the group confirmed that a nondisclosure release applied to its current and former contractors, vendors and employees. Much of the group’s work was done by independent contractors and those working for private firms owned by its founders.
Their accounts contradict a timeline provided by Schmidt as recently as late last week. Schmidt had previously said that he did not know about the allegations against Weaver until January. They also show that co-founders knew months earlier than June, as had been previously reported by The 19th and other media outlets. …
Some of the individuals came forward with new details on Monday after they were released from their nondisclosure agreements. Several said Sarah Lenti, a managing partner with the group who was previously its executive director, knew about the allegations against Weaver as early as May 2020. Lenti confirmed that some of the group’s co-founders knew about the allegations as early as March 2020. Schmidt and Galen were among those who knew, multiple sources said.
The Lincoln Project announced last night that they hired a law firm to do an independent and “comprehensive review of our operations and culture.” That’s something one might expect from an organization with hundreds or thousands of employees and a large, distributed leadership structure. The Lincoln Project is a super-PAC with eight founders. Why would they need to hire an attorney to conduct such a “comprehensive review” of an organization of this size?
They’d be better off hiring a crisis-management firm. How many times has TLP leadership changed its story based on leaks and other developments? Guy Benson points out the problem this morning:
“Schmidt and Galen were among those who knew, multiple sources said.” So he allegedly lied through his teeth while cynically framing himself as a victim in that “my truth” post. Who’s surprised? https://t.co/mjTuU1TEZH
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 16, 2021
For a group of people who claim expertise in politics and strategy, this is an amazing and spectacular self-immolation. Admitting up front that they had heard about the allegations in March would have been painful, but at least it would have precluded the damage from these kinds of leaks later in the process. Even at this late stage, TLP leaders would have done better to issue an admission that they knew about Weaver in March prior to releasing the NDAs, if just to pre-empt the leakers from gaining any further traction and getting a chance to put that information into some kind of helpful context. Instead, they’ve made themselves look even less honest and more involved in a cover-up.
And let’s not forget that the ostensible raison d’etre of this organization was to uphold ethics and honesty in politics. Hollywood couldn’t script this faceplant.
So what’s next? The “comprehensive review,” maybe, but I’d bet that TLP will have to spend that money on lawsuit defenses first. Especially if that March timeline gets shifted back in time even further — perhaps to before the launch of TLP. Stay tuned for more bombshells now that the NDAs are gone.
Update: Let’s not forget about Weaver’s own legal issues, which might expand soon:
A second teenager has accused ousted Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver of “aggressively” sexually harassing him, according to the journalist who initially broke the story.
The second minor accuser comes on the heels of a New York Times report from Jan. 31 that Weaver — who helmed the anti-Trump super PAC — sexually harassed a 14-year-old boy.
“I am here to say that I have made contact with another minor who was sexually harassed by John Weaver,” reporter Ryan Girdusky said Monday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“He is still a minor today. He doesn’t want his name to come forward because he is a minor,” added Girdusky, who first reported the allegations against Weaver last month for the American Conservative.
Get ready for more rounds of “what did they know and when did they know it” if this accuser comes forward.