Twitter's Former Comms Guru Advises Lincoln Project's Dark Money Offshoot

September 4, 2021

Twitter's former communications guru is now advising the Franklin Project, a dark money offshoot of the scandal-plagued Lincoln Project, the Democratic-aligned super PAC widely suspected of enabling a sex pest who preyed on young men and at least one child.

Brandon Borrman spent more than three years as vice president of global communications for Twitter, the controversial tech firm. He left that position in June to serve as a communications adviser for the Franklin Project, a shadowy group that aims to "unify people opposed to partisan dysfunction" in part by developing a "K-12 civics education program it will offer free to local school districts."

Borrman was working at Twitter in February 2021 when the Lincoln Project appeared to violate the company's terms of service by sharing hacked materials from its official account. In an ill-advised act of retaliation against former Lincoln Project cofounder Jennifer Horn, the super PAC posted screenshots of Horn's private messages with a reporter. Neither Horn nor the reporter consented to sharing the messages. Lincoln Project cofounder Steve Schmidt subsequently admitted that he ordered staff to post the questionably obtained materials. Former senior adviser Kurt Bardella admitted he posted the materials online.

Twitter's policy states that "posting hacked content" is not permitted. Nevertheless, a company spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon and other media outlets the Lincoln Project's posting of hacked content was not a violation of that policy.

Horn resigned from the Lincoln Project in February, citing the "sickening" behavior of fellow cofounder John Weaver, who left the group amid numerous allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior toward young men. Horn described a culture of toxic masculinity at the disgraced super PAC, alleging she was "never part of, or included in, the Lincoln Project's inner circle" and was "earning a small fraction of what some of my male counterparts did." While attempting to negotiate her exit, Horn said, she was repeatedly "yelled at, demeaned, and lied to."

Since joining the Franklin Project, Borrman's social media activity has been conspicuously at odds with his employer's alleged "non-partisan, non-political" status and stated mission of promoting "collaboration tailored to build consensus." For example, he recently compared the state of Texas to East Germany under communist rule and urged his followers to support Gov. Gavin Newsom (D., Calif.) in the upcoming recall election.

Borrman started working for the Franklin Project shortly after its so-called launch in May, which was glowingly covered by the news blog Axios. The 501(c)(4) nonprofit group is not a new organization but rather a rebranded version of the dark money group Lincoln Project cofounder Reed Galen secretly operated during the 2020 election. Public records indicate that Galen's dark money group, Project Yellowstone, changed its name to the Franklin Project earlier this year.

Project Yellowstone was, at least on paper, involved in voter education initiatives during the 2020 campaign. Critics have alleged that its true purpose, however, was to funnel cash to the Lincoln Project founders and their associates and to shield these financial activities from public scrutiny. The Franklin Project will be similarly exempt from financial disclosure requirements.