Speed Reads


New text messages bolster sexual assault claim against CPAC head Matt Schlapp

A Republican campaign strategist who came forward last week with allegations that American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp made unwanted sexual advances on him last October has provided some new contemporaneous text messages to CNN. The GOP staffer, who was working on Herschel Walker's Senate campaign at the time, told The Daily Beast that Schlapp had fondled his genitals as he was driving Schlapp back to his hotel after business drinks. Schlapp invited him up to his hotel room, the staffer said, and he declined and left quickly. 

"He's pissed I didn't follow him to his hotel room," the staffer wrote a friend who's also in politics after the alleged encounter, according to text messages shared with CNN. "I'm so sorry man," the friend responded. "What a f--king creep." The staffer then asked for advice on how to tell his supervisors on the Walker campaign that their "surrogate fondled my junk without my consent."

Schlapp, whose organization runs the influential annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), denied the allegation through his lawyer, Charlie Spies. "The attack is false and Mr. Schlapp denies any improper behavior," the lawyer said in a statement. "We are evaluating legal options for response." ACU said it stands "squarely behind Matt Schlapp" and "has full confidence in his leadership of the organization."

The staffer, who is in his late 30s, notified the Walker campaign the next morning, and he says the campaign was fully supportive. "Senior Walker campaign officials confirmed to CNN that they spoke with the staffer and immediately notified campaign lawyers," CNN reports. "One source told CNN the staffer was offered options including legal counsel, contacting law enforcement, a therapist, or if he wanted, to speak to reporters. The source added that he thought the staffer was angry and mortified by the situation."

You can read more text messages at CNN and The Daily Beast.