We already knew the National Rifle Association was experiencing internal turmoil and financial problems as of late. But new documents leaked online shed some new light on the extent of spending by the NRA, its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, and its ad agency.
According to The Wall
Street Journal, ad agency Ackerman McQueen says in the documents, which
former president Oliver North previously had provided to board members, that LaPierre
the agency $542,000 for clothing, travel, and other expenses. That includes
$200,000 in air transportation in a single month in late 2012 and early 2013.
On two occasions from 2004 to 2017, LaPierre billed over
$39,000 for purchases at a Beverly Hills clothing store. During that period, he
billed a total of over $274,000 at the store.
During a 2014 trip to Europe, he billed almost $10,000 for
lodging, $17,550 for air transportation, and over $18,000 for a driver.
LaPierre also required Ackerman McQueen to pay nearly
$14,000 for a summer apartment for a young intern.
The Daily Beast also highlighted staggering legal bills that
to debilitate the organization.”
According to the documents, the NRA was billed over $24.3
million for an outside counsel, Bill Brewer, since he began working with the
group last year. Some of that money was recovered in a settlement, but it’s
still a pretty significant number at over $18 million.
In memos to the organization, North and NRA official Richard
Childress estimated that the gun lobby group was spending a whopping
$100,000 a day in legal bills, the Daily Beast reported.
Both news outlets confirmed
the documents’ authenticity, but NRA officials disputed the accuracy of details
contained in them.
NRA President Carolyn Meadows, who replaced North after his
failed attempt to oust LaPierre, called the documents old news.
“This is stale news—being recycled by those with personal
agendas,” she said in a statement reported by the Daily Beast. The NRA board,
she added, has full confidence in LaPierre.
According to the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff, “The fact
that the memo leaked is significant; dozens of board members have had access to
it for weeks, and it contains confidential allegations that may embarrass
people close to the NRA.”