ACU vice chair resigns, calls for independent investigations into Matt Schlapp, group’s finances

ACU vice chair resigns, calls for independent investigations into Matt Schlapp, group's finances

The vice chair of the American Conservative Union has resigned and demanded investigations into Chairman Matt Schlapp and the organization’s finances.

Charlie Gerow, who has served on the board of the ACU for decades, said Friday he’s the latest in a series of departures that should serve as a wake-up call to the organization, which has been a mainstay of the conservative movement and is a fierce ally of former President Donald Trump.

Mr. Gerow said the board must probe not only the ACU’s finances, but also must belatedly launch an investigation into sexual assault allegations made against Mr. Schlapp in a lawsuit.

“It’s a great honor to serve CPAC, it was a large portion of my life that I gave to this organization and I’m sad that the state of affairs is such that I believe the only course of action that’s appropriate at this point is to resign,” he said.

Mr. Schlapp did not respond to a request for comment. The ACU did not respond to a request for comment.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based GOP consultant, said he is calling on the ACU board to authorize:

• An independent investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Mr. Schlapp.

• An independent forensic audit of the organization’s finances.

• A written legal opinion that the ACU is fully compliant with its bylaws.

• A thorough investigation to examine exit interviews from the large number of former employees who have left.

Mr. Schlapp has faced intense scrutiny since Carlton Huffman, a longtime Republican consultant who worked on Herschel Walker’s failed Senate bid in Georgia last year, accused him of sexual assault.

Mr. Huffman says Mr. Schlapp was drinking heavily and groped him while Mr. Huffman was driving Mr. Schlapp around during the Senate campaign.

Mr. Schlapp has denied any wrongdoing.

In January, Mr. Gerow released a statement defending Mr. Schlapp and saying he stood “squarely” behind the chairman, whom he called “good people.”

He called the first news account of the accusations against Mr. Schlapp an “egregious attack” and an attempt to “scorch the earth in their quest to cancel those with whom they disagree.”

“We know Matt Schlapp’s heart and his character. And we believe this latest attempt at character assassination is false,” Mr. Gerow and Carolyn Meadows, the ACU’s second vice chair, said in the statement at that time.

Mr. Gerow explained his change of heart by saying he has had lingering concerns about the group’s finances, and that the May resignation of ACU Treasurer Bob Beauprez raised alarm bells.

Mr. Beauprez resigned and released a scathing letter criticizing Mr. Schlapp and the board for a lack of financial transparency, including money spent on Mr. Schlapp’s legal defense.

“I’ve come to think that the expectations for my role as a director and officer is much the same as that of a mushroom — ‘To be kept in the dark and fed a lot of manure.’ I no longer am willing to comply,” Mr. Beauprez said at the time.

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