Lincoln Project Donors Hold Top Positions at Law Firm Retained to Investigate Alleged Misconduct

Two lead attorneys at Paul Hastings, an international law firm retained by the Lincoln Project to probe misconduct allegations internally, have donated to the organization before.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that Greg Nitzkowski and Elena Baca, the managing partner and employment law department chair, respectively, at Paul Hastings, contributed roughly $4,900 in collective donations to the political action committee during the second half of last year. The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group whose mission focused on preventing the former president from assuming office for a second term, rose to national prominence around the same time.

Allegations of inappropriate behavior involving Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver surfaced after the general election. In January, nearly two dozen people came forward with accounts of alleged sexual harassment, detailed in a lengthy report by the New York Times. The report followed two individual accounts released independently.

At the time, the Lincoln Project said it was "disgusted and outraged" upon hearing the accusations against Weaver and noted that its employees were unaware of them prior to this year. However, reports that leadership at the organization knew about the co-founder's alleged abuse as early as last summer began to circulate more recently. The organization subsequently denied claims that pointed to a lack of transparency on its part, and potentially, an intentional effort to conceal Weaver's alleged conduct, which his accusers say persisted for years.

The Lincoln Project announced that attorneys at Paul Hastings would conduct an internal investigation into the allegations against Weaver, as well as a "comprehensive review" of the organization's workplace culture on Monday.

"The Lincoln Project has retained the law firm of Paul Hastings to investigate allegations of inappropriate behavior by John Weaver as part of a comprehensive review of our operations and culture. The review process is currently underway," the announcement read. It additionally stated that employees whose confidentiality agreements with the Lincoln Project previously prevented them from speaking out about Weaver were no longer subject to those provisions.

John Weaver, The Lincoln Project
John Weaver, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, is accused of sexually harassing at least 21 men, some of whom were underaged at the time of his alleged misconduct. In the screenshot above, Weaver appears on an episode of "Open Mind," a YouTube series that focuses on politics and national affairs, in June of 2020. YouTube/cunytv75

Nitzkowski and Baca are not the only attorneys employed by Paul Hastings who donated to the Lincoln Project during the latter half of 2020, although their sums appear to be the largest compared with others contributed by lawyers at the firm. FEC records also show that attorneys Sam Alavi, Steven Marenberg and Joseph Profaizer gave a single donation each to the organization between June and September.

A spokesperson for Paul Hastings told Newsweek on Tuesday that the attorneys assigned to the Lincoln Project investigation have not contributed to the organization financially.

"We can confirm that partners Felicia Davis and Jeffrey Webb of Paul Hastings have been retained by The Lincoln Project to conduct an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior within the organization," the spokesperson said. "While individual lawyers have made donations to The Lincoln Project, Paul Hastings has not made any such donations. None of the individual lawyers who donated will have any involvement with the investigation."

A review of FEC record by Newsweek confirmed that neither Davis or Hastings have donated to the Lincoln Project.

Newsweek reached out to the Lincoln Project for further comment but did not receive a reply in time for publication.