The people behind the Lincoln Project are geniuses, at least in one sense – they recognized that Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) was real and largely impacted wealthy liberals. When you’ve got leftists with more money than they know what to do with worked up about something, it’s pretty easy to get a nice chunk of it. All you have to do is pretend to care about or have the ability to address whatever it is they are worked up about, make your pitch and watch the checks roll in.
If you’re someone like a David Geffen – more money than you know what to do with and a raging hypocrite when it comes to personal behavior (a supporter of climate change legislation who owns a $590 million diesel-guzzling yacht) – virtue signaling is far more important than actually doing anything substantive. Virtue signaling requires nothing but cutting a check, large to normal people but insignificant to them and probably covered by the amount of wealth they accumulated in the time it took to instruct their accountant to write out the check.
When leftist billionaires will happily let you check their couch cushions for a few hundred grand in loose change, why not do it? There are a lot of leftist billionaires and a lot couch-sniffers ready to beg. The Lincoln Project found its natural home.
The funny thing about the Lincoln Project is it was created and run by people with a long history of failure. Two of the founders were veterans of the embarrassingly bad 2008 McCain campaign. Who would give them a dime? Suckers, rich and poor. And it turns out there are a lot of suckers in the country.
What did they get for the almost $100 million they gave? Really nice stuff for the people who created the Lincoln Project. They also got some web videos and a few ads run on cable on the cheap, plus a lot of free publicity for people who live for publicity, but mostly they got the people running the show very wealthy.
It’s good work, if you can get it. Well, I should say it’s good work, if you can live with yourself. It’s not all that hard to get it, all you have to do is commit yourself to conning others to give and pocketing as much of what you take in as possible.
They took in a lot of cash, then set about taking out as much as they could and disappearing it into companies they owned that weren’t subject to federal disclosure laws. The New York Post reported, “The vast majority of the cash was split among consulting firms controlled by its founders, including about $27 million paid to a small firm controlled by (Reed) Galen and another $21 million paid to a boutique firm run by former Lincoln Project member Ron Steslow.”
Further, the Post reports, “That leaves tens of millions of dollars that went toward expenses like production costs, overhead — and exorbitant consulting fees collected by members of the group.” Again, good work, if you can live with yourself.
But this is politics, there isn’t much anyone does they can’t live with…if it pays well enough.
That limit, however, was tested when one of the co-founders of the grift was outed as having a long record of sexually proposition and harassing the young men working for the group.
John Weaver, one of the aforementioned McCain alums, allegedly really likes young boys, including at least one young enough to be his grandson, still four years away from being able to vote.
When the Weaver news broke, everyone else riding the cash cow all the way to the bank spoke out in shock at what they claimed no knowledge of to that point. Reporting at the time exposed almost everyone involved knew and Weaver had been quietly allowed to recede into the background for “health reasons.” You don’t want to rock a rickety boat loaded with cash.
Once the dam broke, and after the election (naturally), the Lincoln Project wasn’t really necessary to the left anymore, so additional reporting “discovered” what most of us knew – the people running the show were running to the bank with bags of cash.
These are just the scams and perversions we know about, who knows what is yet to be discovered.
Once the lights were turned on and people saw the roaches scurrying for cover, those with swollen pockets quickly backed away; distancing themselves from the group as quickly as possible.
Michael Steele, George Conway, Kurt Bardella, and pretty much every third guest on CNN and MSNBC removed references to their role in the pervy-grift from their social media bios, as if they’d hired Servpro to go through their history – like it never even happened.
But it did happen. They were all there. Who knew what when, and who got how much from where is something we don’t know yet, but it takes a saint to be involved in a nearly $100 million organization and not know what’s going on while simultaneously not making any money, and D.C. has more honest politicians than saints.
Now the Lincoln Project is trying to mount a comeback. The “brand” still has resonance with dumb people, and dumb people still have money. Rather than simply admit they had a good run, made more money than their intelligence would ever allow them to and got away with it, for the most part, some are still beating that dead horse hoping a few more dollars fall out of it.
A guy named Fred Wellman is the current executive director, which must be a bit like being the guy in charge of plunging the toilets on the Titanic, is pimping their new line of Lincoln Project “gear,” even modeling their new hat. It’s not recommended to be worn within 100 feet of schools or playgrounds.
The attempt to keep the grift going is reminiscent of a skit on the HBO series “Mr. Show” titled “The New KKK,” in which the new Grand Wizard is a black man who announces the Klan is now inclusive. The agency that created an ad for the new KKK was competing for the “most improved image” award against groups like NAMBLA, whose new slogan was “NAMBLA: We’re not killers.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide which of those jokes more closely resembles the Lincoln Project, but given their brief history, there are no wrong answers. ✪