The new president of Liberty University was secretly taped in a recording obtained by Politico saying he wants the school to become more effective at influencing elections, which he described as “one of our main goals,” an admission that follows years of Republican politicking at the scandal-ridden evangelical college.
The comments from Liberty University President Jerry Prevo were shared with Politico by the college’s former communications director Scott Lamb, who recorded a call with Prevo earlier this year as he said he felt he was being told “to do things we can’t do.”
In the call, Prevo discussed how he wanted the university’s internal “think tank,” the Standing for Freedom Center (previously called the Falkirk Center), to become more influential in politics, according to Politico.
He pressed Lamb, who was responsible for the think tank, on whether it was “getting people elected” and “really motivating our conservative people to really get out to vote,” adding that the school should be seeing “some changes in elected officials” if its methods were working.
The president also said he wanted the think tank to be “more effective than Ralph Reed,” referencing the leader of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative advocacy group.
Lamb was fired from the university at the start of this month, which he claims was caused in part by the concerns he raised over Prevo’s goals and their potential violation of the university’s 501(c)(3) charity status, which bars participation in political campaigns.
The former vice president for communications also filed a federal lawsuit on Monday alleging he was fired over his opposition to how the school was handling a series of sexual assault and harassment complaints; the university denies these claims and told Forbes Lamb was “terminated-with-cause as a result of a meeting about a recent review of the area under his management.”