Politics

Lincoln Project Leaders Attempted To Move Millions Of Dollars Out Of Company To Prepare For Other Ventures

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Michael Ginsberg General Assignment Reporter
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Leaders of the anti-Trump media group the Lincoln Project attempted to move millions of dollars out of the company and into other firms in preparation for new business ventures.

Reed Galen, Rick Wilson, and Steve Schmidt surreptitiously moved millions of dollars out of the Lincoln Project’s bank accounts and into firms associated with a new group, Lincoln Project 2024. They were forced to return the money after Lincoln Project board members discovered the funds were missing, according to the New York Times.

First announced in a 2019 New York Times op-ed by George Conway, Schmidt, Wilson and the now-distanced John Weaver, the Lincoln Project received more than $87 million in donations.

Approximately $30 million came from small donors, according to the Times. The rest came from liberal groups like Majority Forward, which donated $1.3 million, and wealthy individuals such as music executive and Obama booster David Geffen, and Getty Oil heir Gordon Getty, according to Open Secrets. (RELATED: Lincoln Project Donation Page Shut Down Amidst Scandals)

The Lincoln Project paid about $27 million to Galen’s firm, Summit Strategic Communications, and $21 million to Tusk Digital, a firm run by former board member Ron Steslow, who left the group in December.

The Lincoln Project was a vehicle to create “generational wealth,” Schmidt repeatedly said, according to The 19th News.

Schmidt purchased a five bedroom, seven bathroom house in Utah for $1.4 million, the Associated Press reported. Wilson used his Lincoln Project salary to pay off a $200,000 mortgage. The IRS had previously taken out a lien on the Florida home for $389,420 due to Wilson’s failure to pay taxes.

The group announced an agreement with United Talent Agency in late Oct. 2020 that would allow the Lincoln Project to transition into Lincoln Media after the 2020 election. With the election of Joe Biden, the Lincoln Project’s leaders turned their eyes toward the future.

Schmidt warned that Fox News host Tucker Carlson would be the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2024, although Carlson has denied interest in running.

Galen, Schmidt, and Wilson in December moved millions of dollars out of the Lincoln Project and into firms they controlled shortly after creating the new organization, Lincoln Project 2024, according to the Times. That move led to the departure of Steslow and Madrid, despite an attempt by Conway to mediate, and the fact that Galen, Schmidt, and Wilson ultimately returned the funds.

Conway left the Lincoln Project in August to spend more time with his family. Schmidt left the organization’s board in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against Weaver, who repeatedly sent inappropriate text and social media direct messages to young men.