Law firm hired by Lincoln Project concludes investigation into handling of sexual misconduct allegations

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Investigators hired by the Lincoln Project concluded their investigation into the group's handling of sexual misconduct allegations against one of its co-founders.

A memo, sent by the anti-Trump group to its supporters and posted to its Twitter account on Tuesday, downplayed the level of knowledge its leadership had relating to the accusations made against John Weaver.

The Lincoln Project noted the investigation was initiated in January when news reports about the allegations were published. The New York Times reported at least 21 men accused Weaver of online harassment, with one of the accusers saying Weaver began messaging him when he was only 14.

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"The investigation found no evidence that anyone at The Lincoln Project was aware of any inappropriate communications with any underage individuals at any time prior to the publication of those news reports," the political action committee said. "Additionally, the investigation found no communications nor conduct reported to The Lincoln Project of its leadership involving Mr. Weaver and any employee, contractor, or volunteer that would rise to the level of actionable sexual harassment."

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The statement — which bore the signatures of Tara Setmayer and Fred Wellman, the chairwoman and chairman of the group's Transition Advisory Committee, respectively — did not address whether the Lincoln Project's leadership knew about accusations against Weaver from individuals that were of age but not involved with the organization. The Washington Examiner reached out to the group to clarify the matter but did not immediately hear back.

Amanda Becker, a journalist for19th News, reported in February that some members of the organization's leadership knew about allegations against Weaver as early as March. As she was reporting, the group published text messages between her and a departed co-founder.

"My question right now would be this: What is the definition of 'actionable' in this statement?" she asked in a Tuesday tweet. "If what they were told about as early as March 2020 was not 'actionable' sexual harassment, why the strong-armed tactics?"

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Weaver, a married man with children, came out as gay after the reports began to surface and apologized for his past actions.

“I am so disheartened and sad that I may have brought discomfort to anyone in what I thought at the time were mutually consensual discussions,” Weaver said. “In living a deeply closeted life, I allowed my pain to cause pain for others.”

Steve Schmidt, one of the co-founders of the PAC, insisted earlier this year that no one within the Lincoln Project had ever spoken out about unseemly messages from Weaver that would lead to an inquiry.

"No Lincoln Project employee, intern, or contractors ever made an allegation of inappropriate communication about John Weaver that would have triggered an investigation by HR or by an outside employment counsel," Schmidt said in a February interview with the Associated Press. "In other words, no human being ever made an allegation about any inappropriate sexualized communications about John Weaver ever."

The outside investigation was conducted by the law firm Paul Hastings LLP.

"As part of our own separate organizational review, we have identified areas for improvement as we evolve from a newly formed super PAC focused on defeating Donald Trump to a long-term organization dedicated to upholding the principles of democracy," the Lincoln Project said in its memo. "These include formalizing human resources, implementing trainings for staff and senior leadership, and professionalizing management. We appreciate everyone's support and participation throughout this process."

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Tags: News, Sexual Harassment, sexual misconduct, Sexual Abuse Allegations, Super PAC

Original Author: Haley Victory Smith

Original Location: Law firm hired by Lincoln Project concludes investigation into handling of sexual misconduct allegations

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