Last month, a male staffer who worked for Herschel Walker’s failed Senate campaign accused influential Republican lobbyist Matt Schlapp of groping him. Now, Schlapp is blaming the allegations on “fake journalists” as high profile Republicans refuse to attend his organization’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
In a recent interview with The Washington Examiner, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the CPAC, said that “fake journalists” are “pushing this leftist agenda and lying, and I’m a victim of that, right?”
“This media will take any charge and run with it if they can destroy a Republican or a Trump supporter or conservative,” he continued. “That’s what we have in this country.”
In January, the anonymous Walker staffer told The Daily Beast that on October 19, 2022, Schlapp – an adviser to former President Donald J. Trump who had come to Atlanta for a Walker campaign event – sexually assaulted him while he was driving Schlapp back to his hotel from a bar. The staffer alleged that Schlapp “groped” and “fondled” his genitals in the car and that his actions were “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited.”
According to the staffer, Schlapp had been making advances toward him earlier in the evening, buying him drinks and violating his personal space while claiming he wanted to discuss the staffer’s professional future. On the drive back to Schlapp’s hotel, the staffer said, “it escalated.” The staffer also claims that Schlapp invited him up to his hotel room.
The staffer reportedly recorded videos recounting the incident immediately after. The staffer reported the incident to a senior official on the Walker campaign, who advised him to tell Schlapp in writing that he had made him uncomfortable. The staffer shared his text exchange with Schlapp with the Daily Beast, and an official from Walker’s campaign confirmed the story.
The staffer filed a lawsuit against Schlapp on January 17. The lawsuit seeks $9.4 million in damages.
Following the allegations, Schlapp’s lawyer released a statement via Schlapp’s Twitter account. “This anonymous complaint demonstrates the accuser’s real agenda, working in concert with Daily Beast to attack and harm the Schlapp family,” it read.
“The complaint is false, and the Schlapp family is suffering unbearable pain and stress due to the false allegation from an anonymous individual. No family should ever go through this, and the Schlapps and their legal team are assessing counter-lawsuit options.”
Even though CPAC began on Wednesday, many big name Republicans have opted to skip the event this year, including likely presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Vice President Mike Pence (R), and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).
Also, the right-leaning Fox News network is neither sponsoring the conference nor streaming it on its Fox Nation platform despite having done so in past years. It’s also unclear if some of the network’s bigger name stars, like Laura Ingraham or Sean Hannity, will be attending the event as they have in the past.
Despite that, former President Donald Trump (R), former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) will all be speaking at the event.