The Lincoln Project’s internal operations were plagued by a toxic workplace atmosphere, according to a new report.
The pro-Democrat super PAC’s co-founders, all of whom are former Republican Party operatives, made staffers uncomfortable with sexist and homophobic comments, as well as fights over money, The 19th News reported. In addition, female staffers and board members were treated differently from male ones and were given fewer opportunities.
The Lincoln Project’s staffers often became uncomfortable with some of the language used by the group’s principals, particularly Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson, according to the report. The staffers, who were younger and more liberal than the public-facing members, took umbrage at language that referred to political rivals as “pussies,” “cocksuckers,” and “faggots.” Attempts by “at least two co-founders, neither of whom remain at the project… to intervene to improve working conditions” proved unsuccessful.
Jennifer Horn, a former New Hampshire Republican Party chairwoman, was the only female co-founder at the Lincoln Project. She was “left out of meetings and not consulted about key decisions or public statements,” and often threatened to quit as a result, according The 19th News. After Horn resigned from the Lincoln Project, on Feb. 5, the Lincoln Project tweeted out direct messages between Horn and a 19th News reporter.
The Lincoln Project deleted the tweet after co-founder George Conway, who stepped down from his role in the organization in August 2020, suggested that the post could violate federal law. The tweet did not violate Twitter rules, however.
This looks on its face to be a violation of federal law and should be taken down immediately. https://t.co/7IlMjiAIpl
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 12, 2021
The group then alleged that Horn stepped down from her position due to fights over money. The group was reportedly beset over financial infighting. The Lincoln Project paid out millions of dollars in consulting fees to Ron Steslow, Mike Madrid, Reed Galen, and Steve Schmidt, according to The 19th News. More than half of the $90 million the Lincoln Project raised was paid to groups founded or led by its board members, an Associated Press investigation revealed.
The Lincoln Project was initially announced by Conway, Schmidt, John Weaver, and Wilson in a 2019 New York Times op-ed. It has faced increased scrutiny following the publication of sexual misconduct allegations against Weaver by Ryan Girdusky in The American Conservative. (RELATED: MSNBC Did N0t Ask Lincoln Project Founders About John Weaver Despite Booking Them 17 Times After The Story First Broke)
In the wake of the Weaver story, Schmidt resigned, maintaining in a statement that he was not aware of the allegations against Weaver. Wilson and Reed Galen are the only co-founders who remain with the super PAC.