The second amendment depends on a robust grassroots organization that stands up for people’s right to keep and bear arms. It requires an organization that comes across as respectable and representative of its grassroots. For a very long time, the National Rifle Association has been that. But something seems to be ailing the organization.
Stephen Gutowski has chronicled the turmoil within the organization for some time and his latest piece does a serious deep dive into the troubled organization.
It appears to be set adrift by grift.
Just to review, the NRA had a relationship with a marketing firm named Ackerman McQueen. That firm and the NRA are now in a nasty suit. The lawyer who represents the NRA against Ackerman McQueen is related to the executives of Ackerman McQueen through marriage. The lawyer, William Brewer, is also a huge donor to anti-gun Democrats.
Wayne LaPierre seems to have been doing a lot of things he shouldn’t, at least according to Oliver North. LaPierre, in turn, has made a bunch of accusations against North.
In one memo, Ackerman said it paid out nearly $275,000 over a 13-year period at Ermenegildo Zegna in Beverly Hills, a high-end suit store, on behalf of LaPierre. That includes a $39,435 trip on May 11, 2004, and a $39,000 trip on Sept. 22, 2015. In the other memo, the company alleged it spent over $265,000 on airfare and limo rentals for LaPierre and was later reimbursed by the NRA. It claimed to have spent $17,600 on airfare for a trip between Washington, D.C., and New York; $47,025 on a trip between South Africa, Los Angeles, and Reno, Nev.; $7,075 on a second leg between Reno and Los Angeles; plus $40,345 for airfare from Reno back to Washington. Those four visits were all part of a 10-day, $112,045 trip between Jan. 17 and Jan. 27, 2013, according to the letter. The second Ackerman memo also lists $13,804.84 worth of rent for May through August 2016 for Megan Allen, who was an intern at the NRA during that time and is now a gift planning associate. The letter lists rent for the apartment at $5,346 per month. It also asks LaPierre to explain his “business relationship with Ms. Allen.
While all this was going on, the NRA was nowhere to be seen in the 2018 elections. Democrats were referring to the organization as a terrorist organization and the NRA barely mustered a credible response. It then canned its lobbyist, Chris Cox, who, despite my disagreements with him on policy over the years, was highly competent and had the trust of Republican law makers. The NRA lobbying arm, led by Cox, ran into issues with Ackerman McQueen because its overall aggressive messaging for the NRA caused some Republican congressmen to go wobbly against the NRA. Cox, I am told, presumed he could manage the situation until the NRA started attacking everyone while sensitivities were still raw after a shooting.
This is all happening as Democrats begin a renewed effort to curtail the second amendment and some Democrats even set their sights directly on the NRA.
The nation needs a strong second amendment organization. I have long supported Gun Owners of America. It does not have the brand that the NRA has, but has always been more aggressive than the NRA. I think we can also put it down as less adrift with grift and lawsuits and scandal, making GOA the organization gun owners should look to for now.
All things come to an end. It’s just sad to see the NRA appear to be rotting from the inside out.