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Millions raised by Lincoln Project went to companies run by group’s founders

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Millions raised by Lincoln Project went to companies run by group’s founders

Out of roughly $90 million the anti-Trump Lincoln Project has raised, more than half has gone to firms run by the group’s founders, according to open records data reviewed by Fox Business.

The records show that about a third of the money – roughly $27 million – raised by the super PAC, directly paid for advertisements that aired on broadcast and cable, or appeared online, during the 2020 campaign.

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 Galen and another $21 million paid to a boutique firm run by former Lincoln Project member Ron Steslow, campaign finance disclosures show.

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.

“It raises questions about where the rest of the money ultimately went,” said Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington. “Generally speaking, you’d expect to see a major super PAC spend a majority or more of their money on advertisements and that’s not what happened here.”

The revelation comes as the group faces allegations of sexual harassment against one of its co-founders, John Weaver. Members of the organization’s leadership were reportedly informed in June 2020 in writing and in subsequent phone calls of at least 10 specific allegations of harassment against Weaver, including two involving Lincoln Project employees, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The organization announced Thursday evening, after the new details were reported by The Associated Press, that its board had decided to “retain a best-in-class outside professional” to review Weaver’s tenure “to establish both accountability and best practices going forward for The Lincoln Project.”

The Lincoln Project launched in November 2019 as a super PAC that allowed its leaders to raise and spend unlimited sums of money.

Its founders represent a who’s who of prominent Republican strategists on cable television, including Schmidt and Reed Galen, both former advisers to John McCain; conservative attorney George Conway; former New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn; Florida-based veteran political ad maker Rick Wilson; and Weaver, who has long advised former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Still, it’s difficult to tell how much its members were paid. While several firms did collect payments, Weaver and Wilson are not listed in publicly available records. Schmidt collected a $1.5 million payment in December but quickly returned it, records show.

“We fully comply with the law,” Schmidt said. “The Lincoln Project will be delighted to open its books for audit immediately after the Trump campaign and all affiliated super PACs do so, explaining the cash flow of the nearly $700 million that flowed through their organizations controlled by Brad Parscale and Jared Kushner.”

Fox Business has reached out the Lincoln Project with a request for comment.

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Woman shot while dining outside Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills

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Woman shot while dining outside Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills

A woman was shot during an armed robbery outside a popular Beverly Hills Italian restaurant on Thursday afternoon, according to reports.

The victim was dining outside celebrity hotspot Il Pastaio restaurant when a trio of suspects targeted her companion’s $500,000 Richard Mille watch, TMZ reported.

A shooter opened fire, hitting the woman in the leg. The crooks fled with the man’s watch, the report said.

The gunshot victim was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A witness told the outlet that about three to four shots were fired. The gunfire sent other diners scrambling for cover.

The suspects fled and no arrests were immediately reported.

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Connecticut restaurants will soon reopen at 100% capacity

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Connecticut restaurants will soon reopen at 100% capacity

Connecticut will lift all coronavirus-related capacity limits on restaurants and other businesses in two weeks, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday.

The Nutmeg State is joining several others that have recently eased lockdown restrictions.

“I think Connecticut has earned it,” the Democratic governor said.

Starting on March 19, Connecticut’s retail stores, houses of worship, gyms, hair salons and other spaces will all be allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity.

Other changes include sports being allowed to resume, with indoor stadiums reopening at 10 percent capacity starting April 2.

Additionally, the state’s rule for incoming travelers, which included a 10-day quarantine, will now be an advisory rather than mandatory.

“You know it’s been tough and people have been frustrated,” Lamont said. “A lot of our businesses really suffered, and people took a hit… So I’ll tell ya. It feels pretty good.”

“It feels good that we’re able to do this.”

Some restrictions remain, including on eateries, which will still have to close their dining rooms at 11 p.m. and seat no more than eight people per table.

Bars that don’t serve food will not be allowed to reopen. Movie theaters and performing arts venues will still be limited to 50 percent capacity. Gatherings at private homes will be capped at 25 people indoors and 100 outdoors.

The state will also maintain some key measures, such as its mask mandate and social distancing rules.

The Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi recently announced they were doing away with their mask mandates.

Lamon said that “this is not Texas, this is not Mississippi. This is Connecticut.”

“We are maintaining the masks.”

With Post wires

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Biden tells NASA engineer Indian-Americans are ‘taking over the country’

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Biden tells NASA engineer Indian-Americans are 'taking over the country'

Joltin’ Joe is back.

President Biden on Thursday made one of his most head-turning comments since being sworn in when he told an Indian-American aerospace engineer that immigrants from the subcontinent are “taking over” the US.

“It’s amazing. Indian-descent Americans are taking over the country — you, my vice president, my speechwriter,” Biden told Swati Mohan, NASA’s guidance and controls operations lead for the Mars Perseverance rover landing.

Biden made the seemingly tone-deaf effort at levity before telling the NASA group that diversity in the US allows for the betterment of “every single solitary culture.”

The president said, “One of the reasons why we’re such an incredible country is we’re such a diverse country. We bring the best out of every single solitary culture in the world, here in the United States of America, and we give people an opportunity to let their dreams run forward,”

Biden, 78, concluded his webcast remarks by describing himself as “like a poor relative… when I’m invited, I show up. “

“So be careful. You know the poor relatives, they show up. They stay longer than they’re supposed to. I’m one of those kind of guys,” he said.

As a presidential candidate last year, Biden struggled with controversial remarks about ethnic minorities.

In May, Biden walked back comments telling voters they “ain’t black” if they supported a candidate other than him.

He said in August that Blacks are less diverse thinkers than Hispanics.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio humorously suggested Thursday that Biden should “seek training on unconscious bias” after he used the word “Neanderthal” on Wednesday to criticize Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, who ended COVID-19 mask mandates.

Vice President Kamala Harris’ mother was born in Chennai, India, and she’s the first non-white vice president since American Indian Charles Curtis, who held the office from 1929 to 1933.

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