Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and organizer of the influential Conservative Political Action Conference, has been accused of groping a male Herschel Walker campaign staffer in Georgia. The Daily Beast was the first to report the allegation on Thursday night, with NBC News corroborating it on Friday.
“He reached in between my legs and fondled me,” the staffer told NBC News, adding to The Daily Beast that the touching was “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” and that Schlapp, who is married to former Trump aide Mercedes Schlapp, invited the staffer up to his hotel room. “It was a public space, and I was thinking that he got the hint. I did not want to embarrass him,” the staffer, who is reportedly in his late 30s, said. “But it escalated.”
The alleged incident took place the night of Oct. 19. The staffer was assigned to drive Schlapp and the two wound up having drinks at two separate bars. The staffer told NBC News that Schlapp began “intruding into my personal space,” and that the fondling occurred in the car. “To my shame, I did not say ‘no’ or ‘stop,'” the staffers said in a video he recorded shortly after the incident that he shared with both The Daily Beast and NBC News.
The staffer reportedly contacted the Walker campaign the next morning. He told The Daily Beast that a senior aide was “immediately horrified” and pulled him off the assignment. “I did want to say I was uncomfortable with what happened last night,” the staffer reportedly texted Schlapp. “The campaign does have a driver who is available to get you to Macon and back to the airport.” Schlapp then tried to call the staffer repeatedly, ultimately texting that he’d appreciate it if the staffer could “see it in your heart” to call him by the end of the day, according to The Daily Beast. The staffer never did, and has not had any additional contact with Schlapp.
Charlie Spies, an attorney for Schlapp, told The Daily Beast that the allegation is “false,” that Schlapp “denies any improper behavior,” and that he is “evaluating legal options for response.”
The staffer said he declined to take any legal action himself because he was worried about professional consequences, and that it could exacerbate the maelstrom of scandal surrounding Walker in the weeks ahead of the election. A senior official for Walker’s campaign “confirmed the details of the campaign’s involvement as the staffer described it” to The Daily Beast, adding that the campaign “initiated a meeting between the staffer and legal counsel.”