The vice chair of the Conservative Political Action Coalition has resigned from his longtime position on the organization’s board and is calling for investigations into the group’s top leader and its financial practices, among other issues.
Charlie Gerow, an attorney and communications executive who has served on the board of CPAC and its parent organization, the American Conservative Union, for nearly two decades, submitted his letter of resignation on Friday.
“The situation at CPAC has become such that I felt compelled to resign,” Gerow said when reached afterward.
Gerow’s resignation follows months of turbulence at the prominent conservative organization, where Chair Matt Schlapp earlier this year was sued by a former Herschel Walker Senate campaign staffer over allegations of sexual assault. Board member and treasurer Bob Beauprez resigned from his position in May, citing concerns over the organization’s financial reports, while Randy Neugebauer and Mike Rose also stepped down from the board earlier this year.
Just last week another board member, Timothy Ryan, also resigned, according to a person with knowledge of the organization’s operations. Ryan’s resignation has not previously been reported.
The series of departures by longtime board members — as well as high staff turnover within the organization in the last year — have not prompted any meaningful changes at CPAC, Gerow said.
Schlapp has denied accusations of misconduct.
Under Schlapp’s tenure, the organization has expanded its slate of international CPAC conferences while featuring the Republican Party’s top stars at its gatherings each year, though Schlapp has aligned himself closely with Trump.
With his departure, Gerow is calling on the board to authorize an independent investigation into sexual battery allegations made against Matt Schlapp, as well as an independent forensic audit of the organization’s finances, he said in a statement to POLITICO.
Gerow also urged the board to obtain a written lawyer’s opinion that the organization is fully complying with its own bylaws as well as D.C. statutes concerning nonprofits. And he suggested that the CPAC board conduct a thorough review “all the exit interviews of the large number of staff who have recently left.”
After publication of this story, CPAC posted on social media a video of Gerow speaking on stage at a 2022 conference and complimenting Schlapp’s leadership of the organization. “We took Mr. Gerow’s public comments as being truthful, and we have no reason to doubt them now,” the organization, in an unsigned statement, said of Gerow’s past praise. The organization also said the board had not planned to grant Gerow an additional term.
“CPAC remains committed to compliance,” the statement said, adding that they need “a board that is unified toward the goal of defeating the left and winning on important issues.”
The CPAC board over the past couple years has increasingly been filled with allies of Schlapp.
Prior to Schlapp, Gerow served on the board under two other ACU chairs, David Keene and Al Cardenas.
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