The rise and subsequent implosion of an organization called The Lincoln Project reads like a manual for naive milking. An organization founded in December 2019 by seven dissident Republican conservatives, with the explicit mission of « defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the polls. » Among the main founders were John Weaver and ironically George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s senior adviser. The Lincoln Project, an articulation of the Never Trump Movement, was constituted as a political action committee, focused on raising funds and producing exquisite spots and advertisements. Since it was a Republican dissident organization dedicated to attacking the then president, his allies in Congress and his supporters, it gained traction in the media and social networks. An heir to J.P. . donated $ 1 million, and a Walt Disney niece, $ 100,000. The Lincoln Project, the spearhead of the anti-Trump Republican dissent, was adored and at the top.
The mask is dropped to reveal how they use the cause to milk the unwary.
An article by Steve Peoples and Brian Slodysko, published by AP, relates that in June 2020 directors of the Lincoln Project received information of at least ten accusations of sexual harassment against co-founder John Weaver. Over time, more evidence emerged that this was a pattern in Weaver’s behavior: seductive harassment of young gay men, including a minor and two employees of the organization itself. When the events came to light, the defendant acknowledged acting inappropriately and apologized. The sexual preferences of Mr. Weaver, a married man with children, are a private matter that does not merit comment or censure. What deserves disgrace is the use of his position of power for sexual harassment, which was a figure who based his position on displaying a certain air of moral superiority among the conservative community and that the other directors of the organization, who had known since June of the Last year the accusations against Weaver declared to be astonished and outraged when it made the news in January of this year.
Once the can is uncapped, more worms start to emerge; Scrutiny of the Lincoln Project, stemming from the personal behavior of one of its founding directors, caused the organization’s financial management to come to light. The Lincoln Project raised $ 90 million, but less than a third, about $ 27 million, was spent on advertising during the 2020 political campaign. Most of the money was used to pay consulting fees to companies of directors and members of the Lincoln Project, including about $ 27 million to a firm controlled by Reed Galen and $ 21 million to a company run by Ron Steslow, both members of the organization. These kinds of events are neither strange nor new, what I find interesting is that, were it not for the personal peccadilloes that caused the initial scandal, it might have gone unnoticed how tens of millions of dollars were diverted into the pockets of members of the organization.
People identify with causes, even join and support them, a phenomenon that is vital in human society. The story of the Lincoln Project illustrates how a political cause manages to seduce many people and soon after the mask falls to reveal how its promoters use it to milk the unwary. It is not an ideological issue, it can occur on any side or cause. Everywhere beans are cooked.