Wayne LaPierre Eats Oliver North's Liver At NRA
The NRA leadership is going to war with itself, and we mean WAR! Oliver North and Wayne LaPierre are locked in a cage match for control of the Murder Machine Lobby, and--dare we say it--it looks like they might both lose! Dream big, kids.
Last night, the Wall Street Journal published a letter from NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre to the NRA board accusing North, the organization's president, of attempting to extort him into resigning his position. See, North has a seven-figure contract with the NRA's longtime advertising company Ackerman McQueen (AMc -- or, in LaPierre's letter, "AM"), which pays North to shout loony shit on NRATV. And now Oliver North and another board member are trying to get rid of LaPierre at the behest of their bosses/buddies at AMc. Show us your letter, Wayne LaPierre!
Col. North stated that the purpose of the call was to relay the contents of a letter drafted by AM. According to Col. North, he had been advised by Dan Boren -- a member of our Board and an employee of AM's client -- that unless I resigned as the Executive Vice President of the Association, Ackerman would transmit this allegedly damaging letter to the entire NRA Board. According to Col. North, the letter was "bad" for me, two other members of my executive team, and the Association.
I believe the purpose of the letter was to humiliate me, discredit our Association, and raise appearance of impropriety that hurt our members and the Second Amendment. The letter would contain a devastating account of our financial status, sexual harassment charges against a staff member, accusations of wardrobe expenses and excessive staff travel expenses.
But then, Col. North explained that the letter would not be sent -- if I were to promptly resign as your Executive Vice President. And if I supported Col. North's continued tenure as President, he stated that he could "negotiate" an "excellent retirement for me.
After Col. North concluded his call with [an NRA executive], others informed me I needed to withdraw the NRA lawsuit against AM or be smeared. [Emphasis in the original.]
"What lawsuit is that?," you are asking. Oh, you remember! The one where the NRA is trying to force AMc to give it an accounting of how it is spending the $40 million of donated cash paid to it every year by the "non-profit" NRA. The NRA is particularly hot to get its hands on Oliver North's contract, since it is obligated by law to tell the IRS and the state of New York exactly how much NRA money winds up in board members' pockets in what's known as "related party transactions" and sometimes, when it's bad, "self-dealing."
The Trace's Mike Spies published the details in The New Yorker of a COME TO JESUS moment last summer when the NRA's auditors sat board members down and told them that actually federal and state laws really do apply to them. Who knew! So they really need to start disclosing the many side deals where the NRA funnels cash to its own board members, their families, and their businesses. Most particularly Ackerman McQueen. And, oh by the way, New York state just changed its non-profit law to confer a duty on board members to scrutinize those contracts, which might make them all liable if they didn't. Womp womp.
On the morning of July 30th, the N.R.A.'s audit committee gathered in a windowless conference room at the organization's headquarters, in Fairfax, Virginia. They were there for an emergency meeting, requested by [NRA lawyer William] Brewer. A copy of the day's agenda notes that the committee discussed "whistleblowing reports." It also addressed the N.R.A.'s 2017 tax filings, which were due in November. According to two people familiar with the meeting, Emily Cummins, who for twelve years had been the N.R.A.'s managing director of tax and risk management, told the board members that the filings would make unprecedented disclosures about Ackerman McQueen, and briefed them on a series of problematic vender arrangements, each of which had cost the N.R.A. at least a million dollars in the previous year.
Cummins declined to comment for the record, but memos that she wrote in the weeks before the meeting give a sense of the issues. One was addressed to Rick Tedrick, the managing director of finance, and titled "List of Top Concerns for Audit Committee." The memo, written by hand, lists seven areas of primary concern. "N.R.A. pays overbilled, deceptive, vague invoices to 'preferred' vendors and contractors," one entry says. Another notes that "decisions are made in the best interests of vendors," especially, the memos make clear, those of Ackerman McQueen. A nonprofit's board is charged with scrutinizing business arrangements and providing fiscal oversight. Yet, according to the memos, the "board hasn't been told of what's embarrassing." For some reason, the NRA and Oliver North have both refused to hand over details of their contract as mandated by the NRA/AM contract, and according to LaPierre, they are trying to force his ouster to make the lawsuit go away.
Hence the NRA's push to get disclosure, which was met by frantic pushback from AMc, followed by the lawsuit, and then this alleged effort to stick a shiv in LaPierre. Which is how we ourselves would behave if everything was on the up-and-up, there was absolutely no fuckery in our books, and we had nothing to fear from an independent audit. Yep, you bet!
Leave aside for the moment the question of whether North's efforts constitute extortion or just monumentally poor judgment. If indeed Dan Boren and Oliver North have information about the finances, harassment liability, or improper expenses at the NRA, as members of the board they have an ethical and legal obligation to disclose that information to their fellow members (or at the very least the executive committee). They cannot use it as a bargaining chip to force out someone they don't like. Because that is not how any of this works. No, not even when the "charity" is suing your employer, and your pals at AMc are super pissed off about it.
So, why are North and AMc so desperate to keep the NRA from seeing North's contract? Dunno! But they are clearly freaking the fuck out about having to disclose their expenses to the company footing the bill. The WSJ reports that North is already firing back:
Mr. North sent his own letter to the board late Thursday evening, in which he said his actions were for the good of the NRA and that he was forming a crisis committee to examine financial matters inside the organization, according to people familiar with its contents.
Mr. North previously had sent a longer letter to the board's executive committee detailing new allegations of financial improprieties involving more than $200,000 of wardrobe purchases by Mr. LaPierre that were charged to a vendor, according to the people. One of those people described Mr. LaPierre's letter as an "angry reaction" to Mr. North's longer letter.
It's not clear what's going on here, but we have our suspicions. In its lawsuit, the NRA said it needed an accounting to ensure that "NRA-Dedicated Personnel" were actually working full-time on the NRA account and not doing work for other AMc clients. By amazing coincidence, North's confederate and fellow board member Dan Boren works for the Chickasaw Nation, one of AMc's only other clients. And if the NRA pulls the plug on its relationship with AMc, then the advertising company's NRATV product goes away, along with his big, fat contract. Oh, noes!
And OH LOOKIE HERE! Looks like Oliver North just resigned this morning.
Oliver North will not stand for reelection as president "There is a clear crisis" at the NRA regarding financial a… https://t.co/rpjUtdnkLr— Tim Mak (@Tim Mak)1556374474.0
Wait, no, he was "forced out," just for BLOWIN' THE WHISTLE like a do-goodin' whistleblower or rectitude and righteousness. That's our Ollie!
BREAKING: @NRA Board member reads a letter from Oliver North saying he has been forced out of the organization due… https://t.co/ibpRKkFa5U— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts)1556375181.0
What do they say about coming at the king?
Boy, that board meeting on Monday is gonna be LIT, huh?
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.