Billionaire Lincoln Project Donors Silent Amid John Weaver Scandal, Financial Controversy

The billionaires who donated large sums of money to the anti-Donald Trump Lincoln Project have remained silent amid a series of troubling reports about the conservative group.

At least 15 billionaires or their spouses donated to the super Political Action Committee (PAC), according to a report from Forbes in October, 2020. There is no limit to the amount that individuals can give to a super PAC.

Newsweek tried to contact the Lincoln Project's billionaire donors about their contributions. Some could not be reached, while others did not respond to requests for comment.

So far, the group's wealthiest donors, whose financial contributions are listed in public filings with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), have not issued any public statements regarding the Lincoln Project.

The largest single donations appear to have come from oil heir Gordon Getty and hedge funder Stephen Mandel Jr., both of whom gave the super PAC $1 million.

Other prominent names also contributed. John Pritzker, heir to Hyatt hotels, gave $100,000. Cargill heiress Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer gave $10,000 and Michael Krasny, founder and former CEO of technology products firm CDW, also gave $10,000.

DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen donated $500,000 and Walmart heiress Christy Walton had given a total a $40,000 by October of last year.

There have been recent questions about the Lincoln Project's finances. The PAC has raised $90 million since it was created, but just $27 million has been spent on ads for TV and online broadcast. It has now stopped taking further donations.

Tens of millions of dollars went to consulting firms controlled by members of the Lincoln Project, with $21 million going to a firm run by the group's Ron Steslow and $27 million to a firm owned by co-founder Reed Galen.

Recent reports have also highlighted spending by individuals involved with the Lincoln Project.

Weaver paid $313,000 in back taxes to the IRS in October, while veteran Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who recently resigned from the Lincoln Project, purchased a house in Kamas, Utah for $1.4 million last year.

The group is also retaining a law firm to review allegations against co-founder John Weaver, who is accused of sending unsolicited explicit sexual messages to at least 20 men.

Though the Lincoln Project initially said they were unaware of the accusations until they became public in January, The Associated Press subsequently reported that a payroll employee sent an email to Steslow about the Weaver allegations in June 2020.

Last week, the Lincoln Project's official Twitter account shared what appeared to be private messages between co-founder Jennifer Horn and a journalist, leading former member George Conway to publicly condemn the decision and suggest it could be a violation of federal law. The tweets were subsequently deleted.

The group had accused Horn of demanding large sums of money, including a $250,000 signing fee. Horn said she was stepping down from the PAC due to Weaver's "grotesque and inappropriate behavior" and "longstanding deceptions."

The Lincoln Project won support from opponents of former President Donald Trump from across the political spectrum with slickly produced ads and some very wealthy individuals made contributions. Now, the group's future is in serious doubt.

The Statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln
The statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sits in the main chamber of the Lincoln Memorial on President's Day, February 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Lincoln Project, named for the president, is facing an uncertain future. Samuel Corum/Getty Images