Forget The Dragons! The Real Drama This Week Is Inside The NRA.
The Wall Street Journal brings us an epic tale of an ancient and secretive dynasty struggling for its survival in a changing world, and the palace intrigue that's erupted into a contentious struggle for power. We only wish there were some ice zombies to up the stakes, though everybody's pretty white to start with, regardless of where they're walking. It seems the National Rifle Association is suing its longtime ad agency, Ackerman McQueen Inc., and accusing it of not providing details to justify all the money the company has billed the nonprofit, which has been running a deficit for two years now. Even the NRA board of directors is split, with "a small group of pro-Ackerman McQueen directors against other board members and an outside NRA attorney." Such riveting drama!
Gosh, we sure hope there aren't any bloody sword fights. That would be terribly anachronistic.
The NRA has been losing money since its great big spending spree in the 2016 election, and some board members are wondering what exactly Ackerman McQueen is doing with all the money it gets -- $42.6 million in 2017 according to tax filings. The agency is the NRA's single biggest contractor, and "has been widely credited with helping to transform the NRA from a grass-roots operation to a powerful national advocacy group." What's more, Ackerman McQueen actually produces the online streaming outlet NRATV, the source of constant publicity for the parent organization -- we were going to say "embarrassment" too, but nah, the NRA wouldn't know what that is.
Not surprisingly, Ackerman McQueen insists its name and good reputation are being smeared by an ungrateful faction on the board, and says the lawsuit is frivolous hooey -- but also that it looks forward "to continuing to serve the NRA's membership" like it did before the Bonehead Uprising. The firm also insists it gave a forensic auditing team hired by the NRA everything it asked for, so there.
For its part, the NRA lawsuit claims that since mid-2018, the ad guys had only partly complied with document requests, and that some requests had been "rebuffed or baldly ignored." The gun lobbyists fears they're being overcharged, and that the agency may be invoicing the NRA for some ad people's full salaries even as those employees were "allocating substantial time to non-NRA clients," the two-timing weasels.
Oh, and then there's the vague whiff of possible grift involving the ad agency's contract with NRA's new-ish president, Upstanding Patriot Oliver North:
Mr. North was hired last year by Ackerman McQueen to host a documentary program on NRATV—"Oliver North's American Heroes."
As a nonprofit, the NRA said it must approve and disclose its top officials' pay. The NRA initially agreed to reimburse the ad firm for costs related to Mr. North's TV contract, but when the organization later sought contract details, Ackerman McQueen balked and Mr. North for months wouldn't provide documents without the ad firm's approval, the NRA alleged.
The WSJ piece notes the worries of some NRA board members who think maybe spending on NRATV should be cut back because -- get this! -- they're "concerned that much of its content reflects conservative political views not directly related to the group's core Second Amendment message." Guys, you didn't notice that's what your group IS now? Next you'll be saying it's primarily a gun safety group.
The suit alleges Ackerman McQueen hasn't provided detailed metrics that would show whether NRATV is actually getting enough eyeballs to justify the expense. The ad agency, of course, says the NRA "has had consistent access to any document regarding NRATV analytics."
Ah, but there's even MORE possible fuckery afoot! That "outside NRA lawyer" who's leading the lawsuit, William A. Brewer III, is "related to Ackerman McQueen's two top officials, who are his brother-in-law and father-in-law." The WSJ story calls this "a Shakespearean twist," but we're thinking it's a lot more like "SquidBillies."
Ackerman McQueen said it told the NRA three months ago that the family relationship meant that Mr. Brewer had an "irreconcilable conflict of interest" and that he had "demonstrated, in words and deeds, his animus" for the company and those family members.
Brewer, of course denies that his worthless cheating dishonest relatives have anything to do with it (we are of course comically paraphrasing for satirical purposes and therefore cannot be sued). Then again, he does seem to have his own fingers well and deeply inserted into the NRA's proverbial pie (it is a metal-jacketed semiautomatic pie). Brewer's law firm is becoming a major vendor to the NRA, and is representing the group in that whiny federal lawsuit against Andrew Cuomo and other New York state officials, claiming New York is repressin' the poor gun lobby.
The pro-Ackerman McQueen faction, which people said includes Mr. North, has circulated complaints inside the NRA board that Mr. Brewer's firm is charging unusually high fees—about $1.2 million a month by some internal estimates—and is justifying those in part by exaggerating the risks that New York officials pose to the group, according to the people familiar with the matter.
Brewer's firm is also "helping the NRA respond to numerous congressional demands for records related to its dealings with Russia," which must keep everyone pretty busy. The Brewer-aligned faction supporting the lawsuit involves CEO and real iron-fisted NRA ruler Wayne LaPierre, so prepare for this mess to continue being civil as all fuck.
The real question, of course, is how long before NRATV starts inciting the Online Flying Monkey Brigade to vent its wrath on the NRA board faction that supports the lawsuit? Will Dana Loesch make ads vaguely hinting the lawyer and LaPierre will face an armed uprising? How will that dipshit grifty Gun Girl claim the brouhaha is somehow oppressing her? We're just relieved that "an armed society is a polite society," or these people might start getting nasty.
Also, when do the dragons show up and burn the entire motherfucker down?
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.