Last night, Bob Beauprez, the longtime American Conservative Union (ACU) treasurer, resigned. In a letter to the Board, he said that the ACU had not fully informed him about the money it paid for chairman Matt Schlapp’s legal defense against a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault. He wrote,
“I cannot deliver a financial report at the upcoming board meeting with any confidence in the accuracy of the numbers.”
Sexual assault by a paragon of family values, Christian morality, and sexual modesty? Are there any other examples? What did Schlapp do? Here is a report by NY Magazine.
In January, Carlton Huffman, a longtime Republican staffer, alleged that Schlapp groped him while they were campaigning together last fall for senate candidate Hershel Walker in Georgia. Huffman accused Schlapp of repeatedly grabbing his genitalia while he was driving the conservative activist back from a bar where Schlapp drank large quantities of vodka.
Huffman sued. Here is a Vox report on the substance of the suit.
The lawsuit not only targets Schlapp for what is described as “aggressively fondling [the plaintiff’s] genital area in a sustained manner,” but for what it describes as an organized effort by Schlapp and his wife to discredit and defame the accuser.
The lawsuit also alleges that the accuser was defamed by Charlie Spies, Schlapp’s lawyer, and Caroline Wren, a Republican operative involved in the infamous January 6, 2021, rally in Washington, DC, in addition to the Schlapps. The lawsuit includes a text that Mercedes Schlapp sent to a neighborhood group chat that falsely described the accuser as “a troubled individual who has been fired for lying.”
Beauprez is concerned that the money Schlapp is using to defend himself against these personal charges comes from organizational funds. Money that was presumably donated to the ACU to promote conservatism, not to pay for the defense of one of its officers against sex crimes.
Note: I suppose the organization could claim that its executives groping the unwilling is part of its mission to spread conservative values nationwide, one victim at a time.
Beauprez, a former Republican congressman, wrote that ACU’s executive committee had advanced Schlapp $50,000 so he could immediately retain a lawyer. He added Schlapp blindsided him with the news that he had raised another $270,000 from donors to ACU and its related foundation, ACUF.
In his letter, Beauprez told the board,
“I have to admit that I feel like I’m in the dark. I have received no further information about what additional costs have accrued since then … I assume any monies paid are either coming from Matt personally or from ACU/F. But, again, I don’t know, and it is most unsettling.”
It was not the first time Beauprez had informed ACU’s management there was something rotten in the organization. In March, Beauprez had expressed his concerns at a board meeting.
“There was no mention of the case, no status update, no summary of expenditures to date, no word regarding acceptance of coverage from either our D&O [directors and officers] insurance company, or Matt’s personal liability carrier, no opportunity to ask questions, etc., etc.
I thought this was not only inappropriate but unconscionable. All of us as directors not only have a right, but a fiduciary obligation to be made aware of what, how, and why monies are being spent, especially involving a corporation insider such as the chairman. The case is now nearly five months old, and the full board has never been fully briefed.”
“However great our sympathy. We cannot avoid our fiduciary responsibilities. A few of us have sought answers to some of what seem to be obvious and necessary questions. As a result, we have been accused of ‘not having Matt’s back’ and ‘trying to stage a leadership coup.’”
The ACU, while it might declare its mission is to advance conservatism, is also an organization that believes in enriching its executives and protecting its senior people from personal illegality. It is a lot like the NRA in that regard.
Beauprez concluded his letter by making clear his feelings about the ACU.
“New hires always come in with the highest regard, but when they leave whether by choice or get fired, they are disparaged and have suddenly become useless human refuse.” Adding that employees “have succumbed to professional therapists and prescription drugs.”
“A cancer has been metastasizing within the organization for years. It must be diagnosed, treated, and cured, or it will destroy ACU/F. You simply cannot survive like this.”
He could equally as well have been talking about the GOP.
The American Conservative Union (ACU) is best known for its annual conservative love-in, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — where once a year America's right-wingers meet to cheer on the country’s most prominent bigots as they inflame the base.
It was not always that way. In 1974, Ronald Reagan, then the Governor of California, gave the Conference’s first keynote speech where he rolled out his sunny optimist persona and first talked of America being "A Shining City Upon A Hill."
Today the optimism is gone. CPAC is another cancer-ridden relic of the era when conservatism had at least a veneer of philosophical vitality and a platform that pretended to promote a better America. Now, it is another vacuous, dead-end celebration of grunting, self-congratulatory, bumper-sticker prejudice — full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
There are venal, iniquitous liberals. But the left lacks the number of sinners needed to institutionalize their wickedness. And it does not have the right wing’s innate indifference to hurt and suffering. This lack of empathy enables conservatives to treat their fellow Americans like shit for things non-whites, non-males, and those outside the bounds of bigender, heterosexual orthodoxy have no choice in.