The most recent allegations of financial irregularities at the National Rifle Association should be enough to get its members’ blood boiling. How many of them knew that their membership fees and other contributions were being used to finance this sort of thing?
National Rifle Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a Beverly Hills clothing boutique, $18,300 for a car and driver in Europe and had the agency cover $13,800 in rent for a summer intern, according to newly revealed NRA internal documents.
The documents, posted anonymously on the internet, provide new details of the clothing, travel and other expenses totaling more than $542,000 that Ackerman McQueen Inc. alleges Mr. LaPierre billed to it.
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The NRA released a statement from Carolyn Meadows, its new president, who said the “entire board is fully aware of these issues. We have full confidence in Wayne LaPierre.” She added that “it is troubling and pathetic that some people would resort to leaking information to advance their agendas.”
Mr. LaPierre didn’t respond to a request for comment sent through the NRA.
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An NRA attorney, William A. Brewer III, previously has said the vast majority of Mr. LaPierre’s travel expenses charged to the ad firm were for “donor outreach, fundraising and stakeholder engagement” and were being reviewed by the board. The NRA also has said Mr. LaPierre’s clothing expenses were justified due to his many public appearances.
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Nonprofits are supposed to be run in the best interests of the organization, not for the benefit of board members or executives, legal experts said. Under New York’s nonprofit law, among the toughest in the U.S., the attorney general could seek to remove directors or officers, and claw back as much as double any improperly obtained benefit.
There’s more at the link.
Frankly, when I look at those figures, I’m outraged. Mr. LaPierre already earns a salary of about a million dollars per year, and has made millions more, directly and indirectly, out of his position at the NRA. If he’s pulling down expenses of at least half a million per annum, over and above his salary, he’s not an asset to the NRA – he’s a liability, and a hefty one at that! What’s more, the NRA board appears to have been subverted from its main task of guiding and shepherding the organization. Instead, it’s circling the wagons and protecting Mr. LaPierre, as well as taking sides in the dispute between him and Oliver North.
Quite apart from its billing dispute with its advertising agency, there’s also the question of multi-million-dollar bills to the NRA from a legal firm – as much as $100,000 per day! Who authorized them? Why were members never fully informed about them? How do we know they’re justified, when we have no evidence whatsoever of what work was done to incur them? Why have Mr. LaPierre and the NRA Board remained silent about this mess?
I have a simple solution. Let the NRA fire every single person involved in this whole imbroglio, from the highest to the lowest. That includes any and every board member who’s tried to protect or defend such ridiculous, unjustifiable expenditure. We need new blood at the head of the organization, people who won’t protect vested interests or financial shenanigans. The NRA is supposed to protect and defend Second Amendment rights, and popularize and promote the shooting sports. Let it get back to its roots, and forget about politics in a wider field, or spending money on anything except its core mission. Anything less will be a betrayal of the NRA’s members . . . and I don’t think they’ll stand for it.
Right now, the NRA Board stands on the cusp of deciding the organization’s future. If it makes the right choices, the NRA will recover from this mess, and thrive. If it makes the wrong ones, the organization will destroy itself. Frankly, we can’t afford that . . . but it’s not in our hands to save it.