PAC operative charged with assaulting Zinke staffer

Posted at 4:54 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 18:54:18-04

A top staffer for U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday she was assaulted last week by a man later identified as an operative for a political-action committee that’s been critical of Zinke.

U.S. Capitol Police on Monday charged the man, Wilfred M. Stark, of Falls Church, Virginia, with simple assault, in connection with an incident last Thursday after a U.S. House hearing in Washington, D.C.

The police report said that Stark approached Zinke after the hearing and started yelling at him, and “used his full body” to push Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift.

Swift, who also served as Zinke’s press secretary when he was a U.S. House representative for Montana, told MTN News that the incident was “terrifying.”

“He is a big guy; he came up behind me, aggressive and very physical,” she said in a statement. “Who knows what this lunatic was thinking?”

Press reports said Stark works for American Bridge 21st Century, a political action committee whose website says it is “committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions."

American Bridge told The Associated Press that Stark “adamantly denies” the assault allegation.

Swift said that Democrats “claim to support women, but the allow their operatives to assault women.”

“They need to immediately denounced this type of violent behavior,” she said.