CPAC Has Always Been A Grooming Operation
Remember when Bob Beauprez, the longtime treasurer of the American Conservative Union, resigned last May? Beauprez, formerly the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and a two-term congressman. He basically said, the organization’s president Matt Schlapp was stealing money— over $300,000— to pay for his defense fund after it was revealed he had molested a young man, Carlton Huffman, who’s not gay, during the Herschel Walker campaign. Schlapp is a typical Republican closet queen and pretends he’s straight too. The GOP is honeycombed with them.
Yesterday, Isaac Arnsdorf and Beth Reinhard reported that another senior board member, Charlie Gerow, VP of the board, resigned on Friday. (He was also one of the Republican fake electors in 2020 and ran for governor in 2022, coming in 8th-- with 1.3%-- out of 9 candidates. He urged CPAC, which is run by the American Conservative Union to initiate an independent probe of more sexual misconduct claims against Schlapp.
Earlier this year, Schlapp was sued for alleged sexual battery and defamation by a Republican campaign operative who claimed that the CPAC leader groped his crotch during a campaign trip last fall. Schlapp has denied the claim.
In addition to that lawsuit, some board members and staffers have been told about other incidents involving Schlapp, 55, and two younger men, multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation said.
In one incident, a staffer said Schlapp attempted to kiss him while drinking late after a work function in 2017. The staffer also provided documentation from that night to the Washington Post showing physical contact that the staffer said was unsolicited.
In another incident, Schlapp allegedly made unwanted physical advances on someone else’s employee during a CPAC business trip in Palm Beach, Fla., in early 2022, according to multiple people informed of the incident. The alleged victim did not respond to requests for comment.
Schlapp did not respond to requests for comment.
“These allegations are completely fabricated and represent a blatant attempt by Gerow and disgruntled individuals to force Schlapp to step down,” Matt Smith, a member of the ACU executive committee, said in a statement Saturday. “ … Only when it became clear that he was not going to be reelected to the board did he fabricate these false allegations.”
Gerow noted that he made no allegations in his resignation letter. “I simply said there needs to be an investigation into any allegations that staff and board members are aware of,” he said Sunday.
In a statement released after his resignation Friday, Gerow said: “I will continue to pray that the difficulties they are encountering will be dealt with openly and honestly. I am calling on my former colleagues to authorize an independent investigation into the charges against Matt Schlapp, to conduct an independent forensic audit of the organizations finances, to obtain a written opinion of counsel that the organization is in full compliance with its own bylaws and all applicable law and to thoroughly review all the exit interviews of the large number of staff who have recently left.”
CPAC did not respond to requests for comment on the new sexual harassment allegations. But in response to Gerow’s resignation, CPAC said in a statement on Friday: “CPAC remains committed to compliance. Having a board that is unified toward the goal of defeating the left and winning on important issues and in the next election is critical to saving America.”
Longtime member Morton Blackwell said he was not aware of any other allegations of sexual misconduct against Schlapp but acknowledged “there are problems, and I am looking forward to the next board meeting so we can discuss them.”
Gerow’s resignation is the third by a member of the board’s eight-member executive committee in recent months. When ACU Treasurer Bob Beauprez quit in May, he wrote a resignation letter saying he had “lost confidence” in the organization’s financial statements, blamed Schlapp for excessive staff departures, and suggested that violations of the organization’s bylaws could expose the organization to lawsuits or criminal prosecution.
In the lawsuit filed in January in Virginia, GOP operative Carlton Huffman accused Schlapp of groping his genitals while driving Schlapp to his hotel in Atlanta after campaigning for Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Call logs, texts and videos provided by Huffman and his confidants to The Post and in his lawsuit matched his account, and six family members and friends and three Walker campaign officials confirmed to The Post that he told them about the alleged incident that night or the next day.
Schlapp has acknowledged drinking with Huffman that night but denied making any sexual advances. The lawsuit is in the discovery phase.
Gerow’s resignation letter also raised concerns about the organization’s potential liability for legal costs in the Huffman case, according to people familiar with the letter.
In a previous message to the board that was obtained by The Post, Gerow said he was repeatedly refused requests to inspect the organization’s finances, in particular hoping to review the insurance coverage for the legal costs. Gerow’s message said he received a response from CPAC’s general counsel, David Safavian, saying he could not copy any documents, which Gerow said conflicted with D.C. law giving the directors of nonprofit organizations the right to “inspect and copy the books, records, and documents of the corporation.”
“Any failure to comply with D.C. or other law and our bylaws potentially provides the ‘ammo’ to fire at us,” Gerow said in his earlier message to the board. “Sadly, this follows several warnings from other directors and former officers about our noncompliance with our own by laws and the laws under which we operate.”
Safavian then replied with a message, apparently intended for someone else, saying he planned to take Gerow off the board at a meeting this month.
Safavian did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Another former employee, Regina Bratton, notified the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in January of plans to sue over claims that she was fired in retaliation for complaining about a co-worker’s sexist and racist comments. Schlapp and CPAC have not responded to questions about Bratton from The Post.
The Republican Party has long been plagued with a severe closet case problem. California state Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) explained it coherently after he was caught in a car with a young male prostitute. Jay Kirchick’s book, Secret City— The Hidden History of Gay Washington, does a decent job as well. But no one did it better than former far right Congressman Robert Bauman (R-MD), in his book The Gentleman From Maryland: Conscience Of A Gay Conservative. Bauman, who happens to be the founder of the American Conservative Union, was caught soliciting sex from a 16 year old boy in the middle of his 1980 reelection campaign— which, like all Republicans, blamed on alcoholism-- but was defeated by a Democrat in a very red district. He was also divorced by his very far right wife, who also forbade him from having any contact with their children. The book poignantly tells his odyssey from living a secret double life that was so stressful that it led to alcoholism to a painful coming out and a transformation into a bit of a gay activist (in a conservative way). Every freshman Republican should be given a copy during orientation week... so they never have a viral video by Herschel Walker's son made about them: