Time for Changes at NRA
By Jeff Knox
Bloomberg’s propaganda mill The Trace, and Mother Jones magazine, have been working together to investigate NRA’s activities, digging up as much dirt as they can find, and doing their best to keep the media rumor mill abuzz with negative NRA news. Obviously both of these “news” outlets are extremely anti-rights and anti-NRA, and they are painting everything they can find in the worst possible light, but unfortunately this is not “fake news.” The smoke our enemies have been pointing at is coming from real fires within the organization, and it’s getting worse.
The financial woes have prompted an austerity campaign on Waples Mill Road, laying off a number of employees, cutting back programs, and even doing away with coffee service for the staff. Meanwhile the guy wielding the hatchet, and the rest of the NRA executive staff, are taking home exorbitant paychecks of a half-million to almost a million-and-a-half dollars a year, and crony parasites are sucking out tens of millions more, while the organization is operating millions of dollars in the red.
[Update 01/11/19: It turns out that the employees that have been laid off are not actual NRA employees, but rather Ack-Mac employees for NRA TV. Apparently NRA TV doesn’t actually belong to NRA, and its employees, including Cam Edwards, and Dana Loesch, are employed by Ack-Mac. The layoffs were among lower-level production staff. — JAK]
The basic financial problems will probably be rectified in the short-term by the insatiable avarice of the new Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Now that Nancy Pelosi and her anti-rights zealots have actively begun pushing new gun control legislation, Bob and Sally Gunowner will again be digging into their pockets to send in another twenty bucks to the NRA, and the organization’s finances will soon appear to be back on reasonably solid ground. But the core problems won’t go away so easily.
An organization that depends on $20 contributions from hard-working members, should be extremely scrupulous about how they raise and spend those dollars, but the leadership of NRA has demonstrated a serious lack of concern about such things, paying executives exorbitant salaries, and signing blank checks to outside vendors. At the same time, leadership has made serious blunders in a variety of directions, from the heavy-handed roll-out of their CCW training/insurance program – NRA Carry Guard – to seriously questionable practices in the areas of fundraising and political contributions, and downright foolish and unprincipled positions taken on bump-stocks, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and other critical, core mission matters. They’ve even managed to alienate the competitive shooters who have been a mainstay of the organization since it was founded in 1871.
The NRA Board of Directors came within just a few votes of the 2/3 majority needed to fire Wayne Lapierre back in 1996 when similar financial and philosophical problems boiled over. The problems then were serious, but didn’t hold a candle to the problems we’re seeing today. At that time, one of the major bones of contention was the undue influence of the NRA’s outside PR company, Ackerman McQueen. Directors were upset about the fundraising tactics Ack-Mac was employing, and the base fees of over a quarter-million dollars a year being paid out to them with no accountability.
With Ack-Mac’s help, LaPierre survived that challenge, and thrived. They helped him push Neal Knox and the other Directors who had pushed for accountability, off the Board. From there, payments to Ack-Mac skyrocketed, and LaPierre’s personal compensation doubled, then doubled again, going from $250,000 per year to almost $1.5 million. Ack-Mac was listed on NRA’s most recent IRS filing as receiving over $20 million that year in direct compensation.
The current Board of Directors has allowed this situation to get where it is today. They’ve failed in their fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the members’ resources, and to keep the association focused on their core missions. While there are many good people on the Board, they have demonstrated a serious lack of gumption and integrity. That’s why we have consistently worked to bring new blood into the group, and why we are again endorsing Adam Kraut for election to the Board. We’re also endorsing Anthony Colandro from New Jersey this year, and might find one or two others we’ll ask you to vote for as we learn more about the candidates.
We are well past the point where the current leadership can be expected to correct the situation from within. Wayne LaPierre has got to go, along with the entirety of the executive staff, and all support contracts need to be reevaluated and either dropped or seriously renegotiated.
This leaves the question, if not Wayne, then who? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to that question. The NRA needs a new CEO who is 100% dedicated to the principles of the Second Amendment, and who has the management skills to completely revamp the organization from top to bottom. That’s a tall order, especially when you enter in the political complications of trying to bring in someone like a former governor or others with close government and/or party ties. Perhaps the best option would be an interim candidate, someone like a retired CEO or former General like James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who would serve for a year or two, wield the bloody hatchet, then step down to turn the reins over to a more permanent executive to take the revamped and streamlined organization forward.
This is a discussion that we need to have, and when I say “we,” I mean you too. Do you know, or know of someone who fits the bill? Please leave a comment, and let’s get this discussion going. The Democrats in Congress will probably help the NRA to recover from their immediate financial woes by triggering a boost in donations, but more money isn’t going to solve the real problems, only a major overhaul will accomplish that – if it can be done at all.
Meanwhile, we at The Firearms Coalition will continue fighting the good fight and keeping you posted on what’s going on at Waples Mill Road and in Washington DC, so please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing to our newsletter, sending contributions, and sharing these articles on social media.