A campaign staffer has alleged that he was ‘fondled’ by Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Washington lobbyist Matt Schlapp, a key political ally of former president Donald Trump, has reportedly been accused of groping the crotch of a male campaign staffer who was working for failed US Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
“He reached in between my legs and fondled me,” the former aide told NBC News in a telephone interview on Thursday night. The outlet agreed not to identify the staffer, saying he fears retribution that could spoil his career in Republican Party politics. Schlapp is chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a pivotal showcase for GOP candidates.
The incident allegedly occurred in mid-October, when Walker was campaigning in Georgia for a seat that was crucial to Republican efforts to win back control of the Senate. The staffer said he became uncomfortable when Schlapp repeatedly leaned in close to him at an Atlanta tavern. He tried to dismiss the behavior as a product of drinking, then had to drive the powerful lobbyist back to his hotel.
“Next thing I know, in the course of that ride, he is reaching over and grabbing my junk in a protracted manner, along the entire ride,” the aide said. “And to my shame, I did not say ‘no’ or ‘stop’. God knows, it was not a wanted advance.” He called the groping “sustained and unsolicited and unwanted,” adding that he was disgusted that “I’m supposed to pick this motherfu**er up in the morning and just sit there and pretend like nothing happened.”
NBC said Schlapp didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Charlie Spies, a lawyer for Schlapp, told the Daily Beast that the allegations were unfounded. “The attack is false, and Mr. Schlapp denies any improper behaviour. We are evaluating legal options for response.”
The Walker staffer said he reported the incident the next morning to senior campaign officials. Acting on their advice, the aide sent a text message telling the lobbyist that he was uncomfortable with what happened the previous night and that the campaign had a driver available to take him to his destinations. Schlapp allegedly replied, “Pls give me a call.”
A senior staffer on the Walker campaign confirmed to NBC that the aide shared the allegation with his superiors, who made legal counsel available to him. Schlapp is married to Mercedes Schlapp, formerly the director of strategic communications in the Trump White House.