AOC attack on ‘scam territory’ Lincoln Project an attempt for seat at the table, says co-founder

The Never-Trump group says they were caught in crossfire between Democrats

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 29 December 2020 19:46 GMT
Lincoln Project founder warns second Trump coup is coming: 'The country is in a dangerous hour'

The Lincoln Project says claims by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that they're in "scam territory" was an attempt by progressives to get a seat at the table of an incoming Joe Biden administration.

Co-founder Reed Galen told The Independent they had "no fight" with the Congresswoman after she said on Twitter The Lincoln Project should "take the L" and pledge their fundraising to the people who made a difference in the 2020 election.

“In my mind, that attack was less of an attack on us and probably looked more like an attempt by progressives and progressive organizations to ensure that they get some sort of seat at the table in a Biden administration, and we just happened to be attacked along the way," Mr Galen said.

Read More: Inside the 'Never Trump' Lincoln Project that can’t quit Trump/ism in a post-Twitter presidency

“If Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has an opinion on how people should spend their money she’s welcome to it… ask our 5000 contributors whether or not they believe we adequately utilized the funds provided to us," Mr Galen added.

In a Twitter thread following the Democrats’ failure in the election's down-ballot races, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said The Lincoln Project was in "scam territory" given Republican voters held most of the GOP seats up for re-election in the Senate and gained seats in the House.

She said they should "come clean" and give people "who deserve it" money from their fundraising juggernaut, which has currently raised more than $82m and has about $5.5m left in the bank, according to most recent FEC filings.

The Lincoln Project co-founder Steven Schmidt extended the olive branch to Ms Ocasio-Cortez in a Twitter thread of his own, saying they should work together to hold the line against autocracy.

"We disagree on many issues and that is ok in our view. Btw, we don’t look down on waitresses. We admire them. We are all the types of guys who always tip at 50% or more," Mr Schmidt began.

"@AOC perhaps you look at us and see something that is not so. We do not know each other and perhaps we should. Maybe even it is the case that the future of the country," he added.

In response to Ms Cortez's calls to redistribute the means of fundraising to "grassroots" organizations, Mr Galen said they've been partnering with several organizations ahead of Georgia runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate.

They have partnered with Democratic groups like Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight, the NAACP and BlackPAC, as well as lesser-known entities like MeidasTouch for more Twitter videos.

They received $700,000 from the Senate Majority PAC, closely linked with Chuck Schumer, who has vowed to first “take Georgia, then we change the world". Left-wing lobby group Sixteen Thirty Fund has also bankrolled the Lincoln Projects gambits with a $300,000 influx of cash.

"But we are not a Democratic organization. We are a pro-democracy organisation," Mr Galen said.

“The choices we made both in strategy, in message and in deployment, and tactics against those messaging strategies, our followers and our contributors were in my mind whole-heartedly behind that.”

The Lincoln Project spent about $20m targeting more than half a dozen Republicans up for reelection in 2020, including Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Dan Sullivan and Susan Collins. They all won.

Mr Galen said they want to be coalition partners with lots of people and if they're attacked from the left or right, "that's their angle, not ours".

"As we have said repeatedly, if there are folks regardless of their political backgrounds that join the fight in preserving American democracy we don’t care what letter is behind your name. We really don’t," Mr Galen said.

"If you’re a progressive, if you’re a Democrat, if you’re an independent, if you’re a Republican, if you’re a conservative, and you believe that what we’re seeing right now is the destruction of American democratic traditions, and that worries you and you want to join the fight with us, we have to win this fight before we can fight over policy.”

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