The Lincoln Project lost its only female founder last week when Jennifer Horn resigned from the scandal-plagued super PAC, which has now seen five of its eight founding members depart since August 2020.
Like the Lincoln Project itself, Horn's resignation from the group is marred by controversy. She told the New York Times that her decision was based on the "grotesque" and "sickening" behavior of John Weaver, the Lincoln Project founder who left the group last month after being accused of having inappropriate sexual interactions with dozens of young men.
Horn also said, rather vaguely, that it was "clear at this point that my views about how the Lincoln Project's efforts are managed, and the best way to move the Lincoln Project forward into the future in the wake of these awful events, have diverged."
The remaining Lincoln Project founders immediately attacked Horn, suggesting that her resignation was prompted by a dispute over compensation. The group alleged that Horn had recently demanded a pay package totaling $730,000. Additional demands included a seat on the Lincoln Project board, as well as "a television show, a podcast hosting assignment, and a staff to manage these endeavors."
The Lincoln Project "immediately accepted" Horn's resignation after her demands were "unanimously rejected" by leadership, the group said in a statement. The group did not elaborate on how the $730,000 figure compared with the compensation of its other founding members.
Steve Schmidt, the Lincoln Project founder best known for advising John McCain to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, offered some additional details on Twitter. Schmidt claimed that Horn had stated her desire to "establish immediate and long term financial security" from the Lincoln Project.
The super PAC has raised more than $87 million, primarily from liberal donors and activist groups, since launching in 2019. At least $1.5 million of that was funneled to Schmidt's consulting firm in December 2020.
Horn, the former chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, is the fifth Lincoln Project founder to cut ties with the group since August 2020. Ron Steslow and Mike Madrid reportedly resigned from the group in December, but their resignations were not publicly announced until Feb. 1, after the New York Times published a story on the Weaver scandal.
George Conway, husband of longtime Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, announced in August 2020 that he would be "withdrawing" from the Lincoln Project to "devote more time to family matters."
The Lincoln Project, which began as an anti-Trump organization but quickly transformed itself into a generic Democratic activist group, frequently attacked the former president for his incessant scandals and inability to retain senior staff.
The group has faced mounting criticism in recent days over its handling of the Weaver scandal. A number of critics have insisted that, notwithstanding senior Lincoln Project officials' strenuous denials, the group's leadership "absolutely knew" about Weaver's inappropriate behavior with young men.
Rick Wilson, one of three remaining Lincoln Project founders along with Schmidt and Reed Galen, has threatened the group's critics with legal action.