Who is Matt Schlapp, the CPAC juggernaut at the center of a sexual harassment suit?

After being at the center of Republican politics for decades, the CPAC head now finds himself at the center of a sexual harassment suit

Matt Schlapp.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Gettyimages)

In the vast constellation of conservative figures, there are few who have exhibited both the gravity and luminosity of Matt Schlapp, chair of the powerful American Conservative Union, and longtime powerhouse within a particular right-wing gestalt. With his Fox News appearances and the Conservative Political Action Conference, Schlapp has spent years cultivating a reputation as a savvy political operative and kingmaker within the GOP, first in the trenches as a congressional staffer, on through his time as a White House official, and finally as leader of one of the most influential conservative groups in the United States today.

When he was accused of sexual assault in early January, the allegations he'd groped a male staffer for then-candidate Herschel Walker's Georgia Senate campaign prompted an immediate denial from Schlapp's attorney, along with a threat of "legal options" against the unnamed accuser. Shortly thereafter, Schlapp's accuser filed a lawsuit in the Virginia Circuit Court of Alexandria, requesting nearly $10 million in damages for "a sexual battery committed" as well as for the "subsequent dishonest efforts by Mr. Schlapp, his wife, defendant Mercedes V. Schlapp, and others associated and acting in concert with them, to discredit" him once the allegations had been made public.

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.