Lincoln Project Shells Out $100K in Mystery Legal Settlement With Cofounder

April 18, 2022

The Lincoln Project shelled out another six-figure payment to a founding member of the super PAC who accused the organization of ignoring allegations of sexual misconduct within its ranks.

The scandal-plagued PAC paid $100,000 to Jennifer Horn in the first quarter of 2022, according to campaign finance records. The Lincoln Project has paid Horn a total of $475,000 in mystery legal payments since she resigned from the group amid allegations that cofounder John Weaver made unwanted sexual advances to more than 20 young men. Horn accused leaders of the Lincoln Project of ignoring allegations against Weaver.

The terms of the settlement are unclear, raising questions over whether the Lincoln Project entered the agreement with Horn to keep her from criticizing the organization. The veteran Republican operative in recent months has been relatively quiet about the Lincoln Project's activities. She criticized the group in October for hiring operatives to pose as white nationalists at a rally for Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R., Va.) but has not mentioned the allegations against Weaver.

The settlement marks an about-face of sorts for both the Lincoln Project and Horn, who traded jabs in a high-profile spat following her resignation. Horn expressed disgust at the Lincoln Project's handling of the Weaver affair. She said that a Lincoln Project leader "lied" to her and "demeaned" her after she asserted that leaders were aware of the Weaver allegations.

The PAC retaliated against Horn by leaking her private messages with a reporter writing a story about the Weaver allegations. The Lincoln Project also said in a public statement at the time that Horn resigned over a contract dispute. The Lincoln Project claimed Horn asked for a $250,000 signing bonus and $40,000-per-month consulting deal.

Though the Lincoln Project balked at Horn's initial demands, the group has paid her a similar amount as part of the legal settlement. Horn received a $250,000 lump sum payment in July and $25,000 in monthly installments since then. Horn received $50,000 in January and $25,000 in both February and March, according to the Lincoln Project's latest disclosures.

Other Lincoln Project payouts disclosed in campaign filings could stoke controversy. The group has paid $120,000 since September to Casablanca Strategy Group, a firm owned by former television executive Barbara Fedida. ABC News fired Fedida last year for making racially insensitive remarks and creating a hostile work environment. Fedida allegedly made reference to "pick[ing] cotton" during a salary discussion with Robin Roberts, a black ABC News host. The chairman of Disney, which owns ABC News, said an investigation substantiated that Fedida made "unacceptable racially insensitive comments."

The Lincoln Project paid Fedida's firm as its leaders have accused Republicans of racism. Most recently, cofounder Rick Wilson and adviser Tara Setmayer accused GOP senators of racist attacks against Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Horn, the Lincoln Project, and Casablanca Strategy Group did not respond to requests for comment.