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Matt Schlapp


Matt Schlapp is an activist, lobbyist, and current chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU)  and the Conservative Political Action Coalition. He is also a principal at the Alexandria, Virginia-based political consulting firm Cove Strategies

As a lobbyist, Schlapp has worked for Koch Industries. Previously, he served as White House political director for President George W. Bush, and was a regional political director for the Bush 2000 presidential campaign. Before that, he served as chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.). 

After the 2020 presidential election, Schlapp and the ACU were heavily involved in working with Trump and his allies to challenge the results. He and Cove Strategies also drew widespread criticism in the final days of the Trump administration for lobbying to secure a pardon for GOP donor Parker Petit, the finance chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign in Georgia who was convicted of securities fraud. Schlapp received $750,000 for two weeks of work, but his efforts did not pay off in a pardon for Petit.

January 6, 2021

  • Schlapp and the ACU coordinated with Trump to create a First Amendment Fund to pay for the legal defense of Trump aides under investigation by the House Select Committee probing details about what led to the insurrection. Schlapp claimed in January 2022 that he had raised more than seven figures of funding from donors. 
  • By June 30, 2022, Schlapp said the First Amendment Fund had paid for legal counsel for more than a dozen witnesses who testified before the House Select Committee. According to The Atlantic, Schlapp is organizing the First Amendment Fund to fight back against “cancel culture.”
  •  In June 2022, Schlapp appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to accuse Democrats on the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack of hypocrisy. He singled out Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) for excusing violence during progressive political rallies and questioning the legitimacy of Trump’s election in 2016. Schlapp continued to characterize the insurrectionists as upstanding, nonviolent people such as “a retired teacher, a mom, or a dad” who went to “their Capitol” to protest an election “rife with questions and fraudulent voting.” 
  • Schlapp attacked Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s last Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, after she testified before the House Select Committee. On Twitter, he wrote: “Ms. Hutchinson approached @CPAC for help through our First Amendment Fund which has helped J6 political victims defend themselves. I am pleased we did not assist her performance today. Relaying WH hallway gossip as fact does not qualify as first person testimony.”

The Big Lie

  • In November 2020, Schlapp alleged that there was massive voter fraud in Nevada, asserting “we have literally 9,000 people who voted in this election [in Nevada] who don’t live in Nevada.” PolitiFact rated the statement a “Pants on Fire” lie, concluding that the 9,000 figure “is a speculative estimate he came up with based on a list of 3,062 individuals produced by the Trump campaign” of Nevada voters who voted in Nevada after moving out of the state. Furthermore, the list of 3,062 individuals did not take into account the various legal reasons for why people had voted from outside the state.
  • During a February 2021 appearance on CNN, Schlapp dismissed the multiple legal defeats the Trump administration suffered in its attempts to pursue voter fraud claims. During the interview, he maintained, “Just because you fail in court doesn’t mean you don’t have a good case. It means you lost in court.”
  • In October 2021, although Sclapp acknowledged that Biden won the 2020 election, he continued to assert that the election was fraudulent, stating “You also have to acknowledge that we had a presidential election… unlike any we ever had because we suspended the rules because of the terrible pandemic, and that resulted in us not following the verification of voters in these states.”
  • Schlapp used the case of Rosemerie Hartle, a deceased Nevada resident who had a ballot cast in her name in 2020, as evidence of voter fraud, asserting: “Dead people voted in Clark County.” But after prosecutors charged Hartle’s husband, a registered Republican, with forging her signature on the ballot, Schalpp and other Trump allies stopped discussing the case.