NEW YORK >> Veteran Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, one of many faces of the so-called By no means Trump motion, introduced Friday that he has resigned from the board of the Lincoln Venture.
The transfer comes after a tumultuous week during which revelations surfaced that the group, an influential critic of former President Donald Trump, knew about allegations of sexual harassment involving one among its co-founders a number of months earlier than acknowledging them publicly.
Schmidt made the announcement in a prolonged publish on Twitter during which he shared a private account of sexual abuse from a Boy Scout medic, a yearslong struggle with melancholy and an apology for posting the personal messages of a former Lincoln Venture official a day earlier.
“I’m resigning my seat on the Lincoln Venture board to make room for the appointment of a feminine board member as step one to reform and professionalize the Lincoln Venture,” Schmidt wrote.
Spiraling allegations of misconduct have rocked the well-funded tremendous PAC over the past 48 hours, elevating existential questions concerning the group’s future whereas undercutting its message at a nasty time. Having lengthy claimed the ethical excessive floor in its struggle in opposition to Trump, the Lincoln Venture is working to strain Senate Republicans to convict the previous president on this week’s impeachment trial.
The Lincoln Venture additionally performed a significant function in pushing Republican-friendly companies to cease donating cash to Trump’s Republican allies in Congress.
Schmidt’s assertion got here lower than an hour after an lawyer for former Lincoln Venture official Jennifer Horn despatched a word to the Lincoln Venture counsel informing them that they need to protect paperwork and communications in anticipation of litigation.
In his assertion, Schmidt acknowledged taking part in a job within the public launch of a sequence of personal messages between Horn and a reporter the evening earlier than.
“I’m not the every day supervisor of the Lincoln Venture, however I’m the senior chief. Because the senior chief, it’s my duty to set an instance and to imagine accountability,” he wrote.
“I want to apologize to Jennifer Horn,” he continued. “She deserved higher from me. She deserved a pacesetter who might restrain his anger.”
Whereas he stepped down from the four-member board, Schmidt is predicted to take care of a job on the Lincoln Venture. His assertion didn’t tackle what he or different leaders might have identified about co-founder John Weaver’s misconduct earlier than it turned public late final month.
Final June, members of the group’s management had been knowledgeable in writing and in subsequent cellphone calls of no less than 10 particular allegations of harassment in opposition to Weaver, together with two involving Lincoln Venture staff, in accordance with a number of individuals with direct data of the state of affairs. The e-mail and cellphone calls raised questions concerning the Lincoln Venture’s assertion final month that it was “shocked” when accusations surfaced publicly this 12 months.
The group introduced Thursday night, after the brand new particulars had been reported by The Related Press, that its board had determined to “retain a best-in-class exterior skilled” to overview Weaver’s tenure “to ascertain each accountability and greatest practices going ahead for The Lincoln Venture.”
The Lincoln Venture launched in November 2019 and rapidly emerged as a strong participant within the political struggle in opposition to Trump and his allies in Congress.
Since its creation, the group has raised $90 million. However solely a couple of third of the cash, roughly $27 million, immediately paid for ads that aired on broadcast and cable, or appeared on-line, throughout the 2020 marketing campaign, in accordance with an evaluation of marketing campaign finance disclosures and information from the advert monitoring agency Kantar/CMAG.