Speed Reads

harassment

Lincoln Project co-founder accused of 'exploiting his power' with sexually provocative online messages

John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist who helped run presidential campaigns for the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2000 and 2008 and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) in 2016, has been accused of online harassment by 21 men, The New York Times reports.

In interviews, the men said that over the course of several years Weaver — who is also a co-founder of, but not longer involved with, the Lincoln Project, a prominent anti-Trump group formed by Republican — sent unsolicited and sexually provocative over the internet. The exchanges reportedly did not lead to physical encounters except in one consensual case, and the men did not accuse Weaver of unlawful conduct, the Times notes, but they did describe being "preyed upon by an influential older man in the field in which they wanted to work."

Weaver even sent messages to a 14-year-old boy, eventually inviting him to come to Las Vegas with him after he turned 18. One of the men who received messages from Weaver last year when he was a recent college graduate looking for a job in politics said "it just seemed like he was exploiting his power."

The Times' provided new, specific details about the situation, but allegations of Weaver's solicitations were first reported earlier this month by The American Conservative. In response to that story, Weaver acknowledged sending the inappropriate messages and apologized. Read more at The New York Times.