The Anti-Trump Lincoln Project paid a consulting firm led by former Obama’s deputy press secretary Bill Burton to run a public relations program for black voters in Pennsylvania that emerged as the crucial state in the 2020 election.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, the Super-PAC paid $ 1.5 million to BG Causes LLC in the 2020 election cycle. Federal Election Commission records show that the two $ 750,000 checks sent to BG Causes in October were for “voter outreach services.”
BG Causes leads the federal political activities of Bryson Gillette, the consulting firm Burton founded last year, the former Obama spokesman told CNBC. He also provided details of the efforts of black voters, which were at least partially funded by the Lincoln Project.
The relationship between Burton’s company and the Lincoln Project had not been reported. It’s the latest glimpse into the financial operations of the Super-PAC, which was founded by Republicans and Conservatives who were committed to beating former President Donald Trump in 2020.
The original goal of the Lincoln Project was to convince Conservatives, Republicans, and Republican independents in swing states to vote against him. The PAC was launched in December 2019.
The anti-Trump group came under scrutiny after one of its co-founders, John Weaver, was charged with sexual misconduct. Several people, including critics and supporters of the group, have since called for transparency about their finances.
The committee was formed by a group of anti-Trump Republicans and independents, including former John McCain presidential campaign leader Steve Schmidt, author and former advisor to the George HW Bush campaign, Rick Wilson, and conservative attorney George Conway .
Burton has been linked with Schmidt in the past when the two advised former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as he was considering an independent presidential election. Schmidt recently stepped down from the Lincoln Project board of directors.
Conway, who is no longer in the group, tweeted on Wednesday: “There must still be accountability and transparency for dealing with the Weaver fiasco [LP’s] Finances. “CNBC previously reported that another co-founder, Reed Galen, ran a dark money group called Project Yellowstone.
Galen’s group acted as a partner organization in the Lincoln Project. Donors have slowly withdrawn from the Super-PAC since the allegations against Weaver became public.
The Lincoln Project said in a statement Monday that it had hired the Paul Hastings law firm to investigate the allegations against Weaver. The group also found that they are working with outside consultants to strengthen their governance, finance, operational structure, human resources and leadership.
On Thursday, Politico released an internal memo from the Lincoln Project outlining the group’s next steps, including delivering a report to contributors “breaking down spending so our donors can understand how we’ve spent their contributions.” “. A Lincoln Project press representative did not return a request for comment.
Weaver told the New York Times in January that he was a withdrawn gay man and that he was “really sorry for these men and everyone and for abandoning so many people.”
BG stands for Bryson Gillette, and the California limited company address is the same as that of the original company, Burton said.
BG Causes caused the money it received from the Lincoln Project to create a program that would encourage black voters to vote in the Keystone State election, Burton added. Burton said his group, along with others who worked on the project, created TV and digital advertisements to support these efforts. President Joe Biden went on to win Pennsylvania.
According to Burton, the program focused on creating and posting ads on the TheElectionisNow.com website.
While the website is currently inactive, a search of the Wayback Machine internet archive will provide a glimpse into the funding and operations side of the voter outreach program.
The archived website says it was paid for by Black Vote PA, a super PAC with a mailing address in Arizona, Federal Election Commission records show. The records also show that BG Causes forwarded the two $ 750,000 payments from the Lincoln Project as a donation in kind to the Black Vote PA Super PAC.
This donation in kind included services such as “radio, television, digital communications and corporate consultancy compliance,” as records indicate. The Indivisible group defines donations in kind as “a contribution such as goods or services other than cash”.
The Black Vote PA-funded website has guidelines for Pennsylvania voters on how to vote in the 2020 election, including postal voting.
The website features a video with Andrew McCutchen, the star of Major League Baseball. The video shows the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder who is black and gives tips on how voters can cast their votes during the coronavirus pandemic.
A 15 second advertisement paid for by Black Vote PA will be displayed at the bottom of the website. There’s a previous Trump rally where the former president said, “Look at my African American here.” The ad replied to Trump by saying, “We are not your African Americans, Donald” and calling on observers to vote.