Former Lincoln Project strategist Steve Schmidt called out the group on Twitter for making enormous profits instead of conducting voter outreach.
Schmidt responded to a tweet by Afghanistan veteran and former Democratic politician Jason Kander, who criticized the Never-Trump Lincoln Project for becoming “a profit center” after Schmidt and others left the group. (RELATED: ‘I Gave Them An Ultimatum’: Never-Trump Lincoln Project ‘Should Be Reformed Or Shut Down,’ Founder Says)
@reedgalen @ProjectLincoln attack on @JasonKander is disgusting and Trump-like. When I was there in 2020, 80%+ of every $ raised was spent reaching voters. Today it is just $0.07. That’s what @JasonKander pointed out when he said “OPEN THE BOOKS.” Opening them makes sense to me. https://t.co/YRXSFB2Pe5
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) March 27, 2023
“@reedgalen @ProjectLincoln attack on @JasonKander is disgusting and Trump-like. When I was there in 2020, 80%+ of every $ raised was spent reaching voters. Today it is just $0.07. That’s what @JasonKander pointed out when he said “OPEN THE BOOKS.” Opening them makes sense to me,” Schmidt tweeted on Monday.
Kander initially tweeted that the group was “just a hustle now” and advised people not to donate to the Lincoln Project. Co-founder Reed Galen fired back at Kander’s initial criticism, tweeting that “[w]e can’t all play fantasy men’s baseball for a living. Want to help? Get in the fight. Otherwise, get out of the way of those who are in it every day.”
Kander followed up by referencing Schmidt’s departure from the organization and asked Galen to “open the books” to prove him wrong.
Campaign finance disclosures show Lincoln Project strategists made sums ranging from the hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars during the 2022 election cycle. The group raised $12.1 million in the 2022 cycle, a decline from its nearly $90 million haul in 2020. Galen’s firm received $27 million from the Lincoln Project’s 2020 funds.
Schmidt co-founded the Lincoln Project in 2019 and stepped down in Feb. 2021 following sexual harassment allegations against co-founder John Weaver by 21 young men. Schmidt claimed he did not know about Weaver’s behavior until Jan. 2021, but a former employee said Schmidt knew about the accusations in Oct. 2020, per The New York Times.
An investigation by The 19th into alleged workplace harassment said Schmidt frequently quipped about obtaining “generational wealth” from the Lincoln Project.