The treasurer for the influential political group run by conservative activist Matt Schlapp resigned on Tuesday night over “unsettling” concerns about funding Schlapp’s legal defense in a sexual assault lawsuit, New York magazine reported on Thursday.
Bob Beauprez, the longtime treasurer for the American Conservative Union, sent a letter to the group’s board of directors on Tuesday saying he could not “deliver a financial report at the upcoming board meeting with any confidence in the accuracy of the numbers.”
In January, The Daily Beast broke the news that an aide to Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign alleged Schlapp made “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual contact with him while staffing the activist during a campaign trip.
The accuser, who later revealed himself as longtime GOP operative Carlton Huffman, filed a lawsuit against Schlapp that month, seeking more than $9 million in damages. Schlapp has denied the allegations.
According to New York, Beauprez said that after Huffman filed his suit, ACU “fronted Schlapp $50,000 so he could immediately retain a lawyer.” In February, The Daily Beast reported that lawyer was Benjamin Chew, who defended Johnny Depp in the defamation suit filed by Amber Heard.
The treasurer said he was “blindsided,” the article reads, when Schlapp said he raised $270,000 to go to ACU and a related foundation—which Schlapp later said was “dispersed or invoiced.” Beauprez said the group’s board has “never been fully briefed” as to exactly what Schlapp did with the money.
“I have to admit that I feel like I’m in the dark,” Beauprez wrote the board, according to New York. “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.”
“However great our sympathy,” Beauprez said, “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.’”
Saying he had to resign because he could no longer deal honestly with donors, Beauprez linked the sexual assault scandal to long-running sentiment that Schlapp mismanaged the organization.
“A cancer has been metastasizing within the organization for years,” Beauprez wrote. “It must be diagnosed, treated, and cured, or it will destroy ACU/F. You simply cannot survive like this.”
In a tweet sent on Thursday morning, Schlapp seemed to respond to New York’s reporting, but instead addressed The Washington Post, which had not published a story on the topic yet.
In the message, Schlapp did not mention specific allegations but wrote of “routine internal complaints of disgruntled employees.”
“No conservative with integrity would violate their fiduciary duty and forward Board deliberations and documents to the Washington Post,” Schlapp said.
In response to an email from The Daily Beast, Schlapp’s attorney commented on the New York story.
“The CPAC Executive Committee was briefed on these matters at the request of Bob Beauprez,” said Chew. “We do not discuss privileged and confidential attorney-client information with the press. Given the information we have unearthed in discovery, we are confident we will prevail in the litigation.”