Wayne LaPierre, who was re-elected as the executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association after a bitter campaign, has taken the nation’s most prominent pro-gun lobby from an electoral kingmaker to the edge of financial ruin. According to previously unreported allegations in court documents, NRA is tens of millions of dollars in the red amid numerous legal woes and investigations that have exposed its questionable financial dealings. Now, the longtime pro-gun lobbyist hopes his lawyers can “keep him out of jail.”
The situation is so dire that LaPierre and other NRA executives have urged laid-off employees to seek public assistance benefits, according to Salon.
The details of the NRA’s alleged corruption and scandal are coming to light in several court cases across the country and in the work of investigative journalists from NRA Watch, which published the documents in full.
The investigative outlet, launched by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, reports that LaPierre has grown “preoccupied with going to jail.” The NRA’s longtime public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre “didn’t trust his own accounting department” and instructed associates not to disclose important information to the group’s auditors.
The documents also include allegations about the NRA’s search for a personal mansion for LaPierre, whose alleged obsession with “purchasing a lavish home for himself” led Ackerman to pull out of the deal. They also allege that LaPierre may have violated his own group’s bylaws by improperly using Ackerman to pay off the group’s former president, Lt. Col. Oliver North, who left the organization after what it described as a “failed coup attempt.”
Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, told Salon that NRA Watch aimed to show that LaPierre “used member dues for what looks like personal reasons” while “only 10% of NRA funds in 2018 were even spent on gun safety.”
“NRA is losing at the ballot box, in courts, on the balance sheet,” Watts said. “We always talk about shining a light under the refrigerators and forcing the cockroaches to run out, and that’s really what this website does.
“It’s important to point out why the NRA is underwater reputationally and financially,” Watts continued. The NRA’s policy priorities are killing us, so stopping the NRA is our top priority. But when it comes to legal issues, the secret to our success is that we let the NRA beat itself.”
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