Employee of liberal activist group charged with assaulting Zinke staffer

Employee of liberal activist group charged with assaulting Zinke staffer
© Greg Nash

An operative for American Bridge 21st Century, a pro-Democrat political action committee, has been charged with assaulting a staffer working for Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeEnergy development will likely land one bird on the Endangered Species list Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Overnight Energy: Navajo coal plant to close | NC dam breach raises pollution fears | House panel to examine endangered species bills MORE, according to The Associated Press.

Wilfred Stark was charged with simple assault after he allegedly approached Zinke, yelling at him, outside of a hearing. Stark then “used his full body to push” Zinke's spokeswoman, Heather Swift, as she moved to leave the room, according to the police report cited by the AP.


“He is a big guy. He came up behind me fast, aggressive and very physical,” Swift said in a statement to the AP on Monday, calling the encounter "terrifying."

“Who knows what this lunatic was thinking?” she said.

“But being physically targeted and assaulted brings it to another level,” she continued. “This violent action only strengthens my desire to serve my president and my country.”

“Democrats claim to support women but they allow their operatives to assault women,” Swift said. “They need to immediately denounce this type of violent behavior.”

Swift said Stark was removed from an elevator two days earlier after he tried to get on with Zinke and members of his staff. 

American Bridge said in a statement to the AP that Stark denies the allegations. 

“We are gathering all the facts and information surrounding this event,” the group said, according to the AP.

The Hill has reached out to Swift and American Bridge for further comment. 

Zinke has faced scrutiny most recently over a $139,000 Interior Department contract for three sets of double doors. Following backlash after the reports, the secretary said he had negotiated down the price of the doors to $75,000.