In another blow to the notorious Conservative Political Action Conference, one of the top officials at its funding organization has called it quits, citing mismanagement by top dog Matt Schlapp. Bob Beauprez resigned this week after being the American Conservative Union’s treasurer for the past eight years.
According to multiple sources, Beauprez’s letter of resignation was filled with damning criticisms of Schlapp’s opaque financial dealings in the wake of the legal issues he has faced since being accused of groping a younger male staffer, 39-year-old Carlton Huffman, during Herschel Walker’s failed Senate campaign. The former treasurer said he had “lost confidence” in CPAC and the ACU—so much so that he didn’t feel confident about the organization’s financial statements.
If his feelings weren’t clear, Beauprez reportedly wrote, “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.” Stinky!
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Beauprez’s 13-page resignation letter speaks of a “cancer” that has long been taking hold of CPAC, but the proverbial last straw was the multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed against Schlapp by the former Walker aide who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Days after Huffman’s lawsuit was filed, Beauprez, a former Republican congressman, wrote that ACU’s executive committee fronted Schlapp $50,000 so he could immediately retain a lawyer. Schlapp hired Ben Chew, a prominent litigator who recently defended Johnny Depp in his lawsuit against Amber Heard. After some back-and-forth over who should pay future costs, Beauprez wrote he was blindsided when Schlapp told him that he had raised another $270,000 from donors to ACU and its related foundation, ACUF. His shock grew when he said ACU’s lawyer told him in February at CPAC that the money “was already either dispersed [sic] or invoiced.”
Beauprez says he has felt “in the dark” since then, and is not alone in that feeling. He said that during a March board meeting, Schlapp’s personal finances and their relation to what CPAC was and was not spending were not discussed, and that there was no “opportunity to ask questions” about it.
But the issues Schlapp and CPAC face seem to be many. A report came out in February detailing numerous complaints from former CPAC employees, as well as questions about Matt Schlapp and his wife Mercedes’ finances. While Beauprez did not remark on these other issues, he did write that he and other board members have been attacked and called traitors simply for asking about how and whose money is being used within CPAC. He also provided a roadmap to potential investigators of CPAC and ACU’s possible legal exposure, writing that staffers haven’t been following the groups’ bylaws for some time: “Any rogue DA could target ACU/F and invent charges. What concerns me is that in some cases, our operating procedures are in direct conflict with our own bylaws. Thus, we’re feeding red meat to the lions!”
The swampy mess that is the right wing has evolved over the past decade. The declining number of people interested in what conservatives have to sell has led to more and more infighting, leaked scandals, and power plays. It is exhibited every day in the clawing between people like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, all the way down through the extremist media landscape. But under it all are corruption, money, and greed.
Hold on tight: It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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