Lincoln Project Scandals Highlight The Role Of Lawyers As Donors

The Lincoln Project is facing rising allegations of ignoring sexual harassment claims against co-founder John Weaver, profiteering on donations, and even violating federal law in posting private messages by another co-founder. Now, in an effort to show that it is addressing the Weaver allegations fully and openly, the Project announced that it has retained a law firm to do an independent assessment of the controversy. However, the Project selected Paul Hastings, which has leading members (including a managing partner) who supported the Project financially. The support of lawyers for the Project is particularly troubling given its campaign to harass other lawyers to get them to drop Donald Trump or the Republican party as clients in election challenges.

Recently disclosed FEC filings  highlighted several lawyers at Paul Hastings who contributed thousands of dollars to the group during the 2020 election cycle. One is Gregory Nitzkowski who is listed as a managing partner at the firm.  Also included is Elena Baca who is listed as one of the firm’s “global chairs.”  There are also partners Steven Marenberg, Sam Alavi, and Joe Profaizer.

What is surprising is the level of legal support for an organization that actively targeted fellow bar members and their clients to intimidate and harass any attorney who was representing the former president or his campaign.

The calls by various groups to deter such representations later morphed into a demand for the disbarment of dozens of lawyers and members of Congress. Notably, this campaign has not extended to Democratic lawyers like Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias who was accused of lying about the Clinton campaign’s funding of the Steele dossier, including reportedly being present when a denial was given to congressional investigators. After Democrats called for the disbarment of lawyers challenging the election for the Republicans, Elias challenged a New York election for the Democrats (including alleging that the computer voting systems flipped or negated votes). Crickets from these lawyers and groups like the Lincoln Project. No harassment. No doxing. No calls for disbarment.

The Paul Hastings partners are not alone. The donors list is full of attorneys funding the Project. One notable name is Randall Eliason who writes for the Washington Post. (For full disclosure, I have previously criticized Eliason for columns claiming strong criminal allegations against Trump based on interpretations long rejected by the Supreme Court. He has been equally critical of my writings).

Eliason wrote a column that I previously criticized that supported the campaign against other lawyers. What Eliason did not mention in the column was that he was a donor supporter of the Lincoln Project, something that most newspapers want disclosed.  Eliason is a “professional lecturer” at the school (where I teach on the full-time faculty and he is listed with his employer as “George Washington University.”  While Eliason notes briefly that the Lincoln Project was suspended on Twitter for doxing Trump lawyers and says such abuses are “never appropriate,” he does not mention that he is one of the donors of the group that carried out such abuses.

In his column, Eliason made a convenient distinction that it would be wrong to run such a campaign against lawyers in criminal cases but not in civil cases. Of course, that ignores that many civil cases involve unpopular clients in cases in defense of civil rights, the First Amendment, and other constitutional rights.

The date is July 4, 2020.  The date of the Washington Post column is November 12, 2020. Yet, in his column, “Yes, going after Trump’s law firms is fair game,” Eliason dismissed the notion that attacking a person’s lawyers, rather than his positions, is beyond the pale: “Law is a profession, but these mega-law firms are also big businesses. Like any business, they can be held accountable by the public — and by their other customers.”

After his column on the Lincoln Project, I wrote:

“Eliason justifies such harassment by saying the Trump campaign and Republican groups ‘have filed lawsuits that appear to contain baseless allegations of fraud and that seek to have lawful votes rejected.’ Note the word ‘appear.’ Eliason did not know when he wrote the column because he has not seen the evidence. Neither have I. We only began to see underlying evidence (or the lack thereof) this week as courts held hearings into pending motions. It is the difference between wanting something to be true and knowing something to be true. That is generally what courts determine.”

We now know Eliason was speaking not just as a defender but a donor for the Lincoln Project. While the money was hardly consequential for the Project and it was made before the campaign against other lawyers, it did not matter to Eliason who gave a full-throated endorsement of the campaign against other lawyers for their representation. Indeed, the criticism of lawyers funding the project was a criticism of Eliason’s own status as a donor. It is akin to a columnist writing in support of the National Rifle Association after it was accused of wrongdoing without revealing that he is an NRA member or donor.

Putting aside the failure to disclose his status as a donor, my main objection remains the same. This Project has carried out a disgraceful campaign to intimidate and even dox lawyers to coerce them to drop their clients.  The Lincoln Project was not alone. The campaign was highly successful as clients were pressured to drop firms unless they agreed not to represent Trump or the party in the election challenges.

It seems that our rage addiction has taken hold of lawyers who now justify and even help fund attacks on fellow bar members for doing their jobs as counsel for unpopular clients. Many have found a type of license to abandon core values and to attack others. I have spoken to lawyers who have been the targets of these campaigns with violent threats, harassing calls, and efforts at intimidation. An associate at Kirkland & Ellis (which was opposing the Trump campaign in court) reportedly called counsel for the former president to harass her.  While she reported that she was not aware that her firm represented a party in the case, there did not appear to be any ethical concerns about harassing another lawyer because she was representing an unpopular client.

Some have taken more direct action like the recent vandalism of the home of one of Trump’s impeachment lawyers.  The Lincoln Project and others like Eliason did not call for such action. I do not believe Eliason or these other lawyers would support vandalism or violence.  However, the Lincoln Project and its legal donors helped create an environment of intimidation and coercion for other lawyers. It is not surprising that some might find the line between harassment and vandalism to be a fine one in an environment where attacking lawyers for being lawyers is both the proof and the prerogative of the righteous.


Note: Before posting this column, I reached out to Eliason for confirmation but received no response.


This column also appeared on Fox. com.

61 thoughts on “Lincoln Project Scandals Highlight The Role Of Lawyers As Donors”

  1. JT, why would you want to “ignore” sex harassment claims? Does it help for you and Trump supporters to ignore the sexual deviate Trump who has sex with children, multiple women, and rape allegations (think, “i did not rape her she is not my type.”) as well as close friends Epstein and Roy Moore for Senate?

    1. You are a very repulsive Human being. Whatever you project to Trump.. is what you and the democrats are doing and have been doing…no doubt. Watch it all come out. 🙂

    2. @emilyshaft, you seem to be confusing President Trump with Xiden, whose known pedo tendencies are well documented with factual evidence as opposed to the nonsensical mountain of leftist slander against the man who actually won this last election.

      Allegations are not crimes, and allegations are all you have. Xiden has committed actual crimes, and is a senile Chinese puppet fronting for the CCP/DNC crime syndicate.

      1. Jonathan, Trump is currently being sued for defamation by two different women related to his denial of allegations that he’d sexually harassing one and raped the other. Those are civil suits. He’s also being investigated for multiple crimes, including tax fraud and insurance fraud.

        Biden hasn’t been charged with any crimes, and as far as I know, there are no ongoing investigations. As you say, allegations are not crimes, and allegations are all you have.

        1. Anonymous the Stupid is demonstrating how his mind fails to work and in the process obstructing discussion by others. Anonymous the Stupid is a nasty fellow.

    3. “who has sex with children”

      Have you seen the photos of Hunter Biden having sex with his 14 year old niece, emily?

      I have seen them, and they are extremely disturbing.

      Like Hunter, you’re a despicable excuse for a human being.

    4. You deserve being the pathetic unhappy person you are, the complete loser in life that you are. You earned it by being the kind of slug that you are. You own all of the bad things that happen to you in life. Karma.

  2. One good amendment would ban lawyers from holding seats in Congress as they have a vested interest including expectation of become RICH!

  3. This is old hat. Outfits like the SPLC have been attacking lawyers who dare to represent their enemies, for decades.

      1. @emilyshaft – that first appears to be a Xiden quote, although given his history he probably plagiarized it. If you want to start talking about people endorsed by candidates, your people are orders of magnitude worse than any mistake the greatest President in the past 100 years may have made.

      2. Whoa what a nasty femme you are. Sure hope you didnt raise any children with all your hate flowing like a cut throat.

  4. So the Lincoln Project wants to form a panel to investigate what happened in the instances of sexual harassment. The panel is to be composed of people who donated to the Lincoln Project. What we have here is a classic case of the Fox guarding the hen house. We should not be surprised. Another example would be at least thirteen members out of seventeen members of the Mueller team were Democrats. Another description would be aptly placed in reference to stacking the deck. Don’t worry folks, that there Fox don’t even like chicken.

  5. Political beliefs vs Money: Money seems to win.

    Just over $20,800,000.

    That’s how much the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, lately embroiled in a series of highly public scandals, sent to a communications firm owned by the treasurer of the Lincoln Project itself, according to federal election expenditure records.

  6. Cool. Bring the rage addiction on to the Lincoln Project. For obvious reasons of course. Seems the project is going through a much smaller version of what happened at Fox with Roger Ailes and his predilection for showing leg under glass tables on set.

    Love to hear your thoughts on the sanctions coming for the defense for lying to the tribunal in L’orange’s second impeachment trial, Jon. Or the Dimension lawsuits (oh yeah…, the do not disclose contractual agreement, my bad!!)

    I suppose it’s more Loomis, Swalwell, Yates, Rubin, Hunter and the Lincoln Project in the meantime. Party on, Turley.

    Elvis Bug

    1. Elvis Bug, you compare leg under the table to the complaints of young men of sexual harassment by one of the founders of the Lincoln project. You make no statement concerning the awareness of the harassment by other members of the firm. No statement by Elvis Bug about how the other members of the firm ignored what was happening. Nothing from Elvis about the harassment of other lawyers for representing clients not deemed to be worthy of representation. Elvis justifies our opinion of his opinions.

      1. Other than the diddling at the top, a common practice of right wing politicians and operatives (of which the right was almost exclusively represented in the Lincoln Project) I’m a fan of the Project’s work. Full stop.

        And, oh yeah, I DGAF what you think of me.


  7. After reading this I won’t donate any money to any fund or human. I will donate to The Dogs R Us Congregation.

    1. The Lincoln Project’s woes are not due to attorneys. They are due to the pernicious nature of its operating principle.

      Anything built on hate is doomed.

      1. “Anything built on hate is doomed”…..BINGO, we have a winner… Now think of what has happened to the republican party in the last 4 years, If you want extra points you will have to come up with a answer….TICK…TICK…

        1. Fishdiks you went there ?. Let’s see the only party of hate is your Zeig Heil left fascist Demokratzi party. The party of virulent racisim , founded by the purveyors of the KKK ,the very people whom voted against the civil rights act. The creators of the Jim Crowe sickness. Now this party of yours is on a roll to hate anything they desire to cancel out…like anyone with Morals , common sense or opposing thought. Oh and babies too…they are on a mission to puree babies at taxpayer expense here and abroad…such wonderful class acts of humanity. The party that supported riots , burning , looting for the past year + . The party that organized bailing out these reprobates by the score. The party that holds cancel culture out like a new religion and wields it like a diseased bludgeon every chance it feels it can get away with it. The party of free stuff consequences be damned. The party of illegal immigration , the country be damned. The party of no voter ID , elections be rigged and damned !. The party of race bait & hate , the people be damned.
          We could go on ad nausium like this for paragraphs…and you know it. You are too partisan to admit the utter failure of your left bent , it’s embrace of violence and hate to get it’s way. The demoratzi party lost it’s moral compass many decades ago and has become the swamp it created.

  8. These “Republicans” were nothing more than frustrated job seekers who Trump turned down so they turned against him. They were also afraid of losing their invitations to the house parties hosted by leftist Democrats in Georgetown. They were dishonest from the beginning. I have no use for them,

  9. It must be nice to be a member of the Bar Ethics Committee and stand by watching all this go on…and do nothing about it!

    The Bar should be proactive on this rather than reactive when it comes to taking stern measures to stop the misconduct.

    But then….are not most lawyers Lefties by education?

    1. You want professional ethics?

      Doctors and lawyers were “barred” completely from crass adverting and, thereby, diminishing their disciplines in decades and centuries past.

      Speaking of ambulance chasers – the Chinese criminals who released their biological weapon, “China Flu, 2020,” to assist their American communist counterparts, immediately preceding the 2020 presidential election and landslide victory of President Donald J. Trump, are getting away in a case worth $25 trillion (how ’bout a third of that haul?); talk about incentive!

    1. You fiddle while Rome burns.

      You can’t see the forest for the trees.

      The America of John Adams and the Founders is long gone, even as the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) pay it lip service.

      Lately I have been reminded of George Washington and his controversial American Revolution. In fact, it was George et al. who reminded me.

      To wit,

      “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,

      and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      – Declaration of Independence, 1776

      The Constitution and Bill of Rights of American-Americans have been nullified and abrogated.

      The last vestiges will be extinguished conclusively if the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) are allowed to defy the letter and spirit, the “manifest tenor,” of the Constitution and Bill

      of Rights, pass unconstitutional legislation and forcibly impose manifestly unconstitutional “Gun Control.”

      At some point, Americans must say “enough” with conviction.

      Americans must say, “That’s all, folks!”

      1. I shall enjoy reading your reply to this Q. In GW’s farewell address he warned us to avoid all “permanent entanglements” with foreign nations, as describes our “permanent bond” with Israel (words by first SOS H. Clinton then echoed by her then-boss POTUS Obama). Whom is correct? GW or HRC and BO? If the latter, explain. Why should anyone trust those two more than GW on this subject?

      2. I don’t think Washington was referring to wild eyed brainwashed hyper partisans who believe pure bullcock lies, myth, and disinformation pushed by the powers of rightwing GOP fascism.
        God bless our founding Fathers and Mothers and you know what God can do with the hyper partisan treasonous republican zombies.

  10. How about ending 20 years of felony torture and ending felony Cointelpro tactics first! Let’s end this 20 year betrayal of the American oath of office, the we can focus on newer crimes! We have ample and hard evidence to prosecute torture, the defendants admitted to it. If we can’t prosecute that, then nothing will happen here either.

    1. +1000. We can thank then-POTUS Obama for spitting on this oath of office to defend the Constitution, by allowing all those felon torturers to walk, by simply deciding to stop the investigation. There was almost certainly enough dirt on military and CIA underlings to turn them against Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney and get him a life sentence if not execute him. After his US conviction it would be great to give him to an international tribunal for trial, providing such courts lack double jeopardy prohibitions.

      Decades ago international courts permanently rejected the “just followed orders” defense.

      The above travesty and Obama incinerating American 16 year old Muslim Anwar Al-Awlaki (and his American father by the same name) with drone strikes are Obama’s two most putrid acts as POTUS, well if you don’t count Libya, Syria and Yemen and imprisoning and threatening to imprison journalists. “No scandals” my a___e.

    1. No mask, no problem

      Face diapers not required’: Hernando County restaurant mask policy going viral

      Spring Hill, Florida ( north of Tampa)

      1. They should have a sign that says if you choose to go maskless you should also take off the rest of your clothes. But yeah, trump mutants, feel free to go there and huff up the covid.

    2. “Fauci, who has developed a very big mouth on everything else . . .”

      Such as the fact that he was *for* reopening schools before he was *against* reopening schools — until, that is, the teachers’ unions extortion demands are met:

      “I think that the schools really do need more resources and that’s the reason why the national relief act that we’re talking about getting passed — we need that.” (Fauci)

      Fauci is good at two things, and neither of them are science: getting unearned prestige and unearned money — the first at the expense of real scientists; the second at the expense of the American taxpayer.

      1. I doubt he’s been a bench working researcher in 35 years. He’s an administrator at best, an institutional politician at worst. The latter is how he’s held onto that job for 35 years. Fire his a$$.

  11. I would like to see an “Ad-Hominem Personal Threat Deterrence” legislation come up this Congress, which would be based on torts, but create a Rapid-Response Court to adjudicate suits. The goal would be to deter doxxing and other forms of personal retaliation and intimidation. Platforms that allow anonymous postings of personal threats and doxxing could be held as co-defendants, an key chipping away of Section 230 exemptions.

  12. I find the whole movement to do anything negative to an attorney who defends someone else despicable. Even the most loathsome person may need to use an attorney some day, and he or she should have unfettered right to do so. Ability to hire the best attorney one can afford should rest on personal preference and financial and other circumstances, not on whichever handful of attorneys are brave enough to withstand doxing and threats to property and family.

    Something really has to give in this manner. I’m not an attorney so am not familiar with the Bar Association and how that all works, so am unsure if this association would be the proper vehicle to start cracking down on any attorneys who are practicing or endorsing this doxing/intimidation/incitement to violence, or if there needs to be something else that should be done.

    All I know is this whole movement to expose, shame, dox, etc. those with whom a social-media mob disapproves must end. This behavior is best left for communist or closed countries like China or North Korea.

  13. The Lincoln Project is doing a thorough vetting openly by using their own financial supporters? Does anyone think it will be anything other than a whitewash? It seems to me that it would be in this investigations interests to not find malfeasance if nothing else to protect themselves from charges of supporting a group that took sexual harassment lightly.

    Unlike Professor Turley, I am not surprised to find such lawyers working for a group that goes after other lawyers. There will always such people. History teaches us that lesson all too well. History also teaches whitewashes usually never work to the benefit of those trying to create them.

    It will be very interesting to see if The Lincoln Project ends up covered in mud trying to whitewash something that could have been handled much better directly.

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