Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- I reported last week that a group of influential NRA reformers was attempting to draft LTC. Allen West, to run against Wayne LaPierre for the CEO position in the NRA, and today West has confirmed that he is officially a candidate for the NRA’s top job.
Readers should all be aware by now that there are some serious problems at the NRA, and those problems revolve around long-time EVP/CEO Wayne LaPierre, and a small contingent of NRA Directors, determined to shield him and keep him in power, regardless of the damage to, or total destruction of, the NRA, this is causing.
NRA members have been paying LaPierre between $1 million and $2 million dollars per year for the past decade (last year it was $1.6 million), and almost that much for the two decades before that. But while LaPierre has been scraping by on this meager pittance – which amounts to more per month than the average NRA member earns in a year – LaPierre has also been awarding himself certain perks at NRA members’ expense.
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Including personal trips on private jets for himself and his family members, luxury accommodations everywhere he goes, lucrative contracts to friends and spouses of NRA executives and former executives, and acceptance of a wide array of gifts and favors from NRA vendors, including repeated use of a fully-staffed, luxury yacht in the Bahamas. not tom mention over three-quarters of a million dollars worth of clothing, and African hunting safaris for him and his wife.
LaPierre admits to these things, and to failing to report most of them to the NRA Audit Committee as potential conflicts of interest, as required by NRA policy and New York law. He also admits to unilaterally granting these same vendors multi-million dollar contracts, with no competitive bidding or consultation with the NRA Board of Directors.
During his testimony in the failed NRA bankruptcy trial – a bankruptcy which LaPierre initiated without consultation with the Board of Directors, in violation of the Association’s Bylaws, and which was thrown out for “bad faith filing” after an investment of millions of dollars of NRA members’ money – and in his official response to a lawsuit filed against him by the Attorney General of New York, LaPierre admitted to the above, and multiple other, breaches of policy, ethics, and state law, any one of which would be ample justification for his immediate removal from office. Yet he refuses to accept responsibility, and a small band of influential NRA Directors continues to shield him from administrative repercussions.
In fact, this cadre of LaPierre loyalists, has guided the Board through the reelection of LaPierre three times since reports of his transgressions first came out in early 2019.
Many of LaPierre’s actions formed the basis of the lawsuit filed against the NRA and four of its current and former officers and executives – including LaPierre – in late 2019. That suit is expected to finally get to the discovery phase this fall, and go to trial at the end of the year. Knowledgeable observers say that’s unlikely to be the end of it though, as the attorney retained by LaPierre to represent the NRA, has a reputation of delaying and delaying, before finally settling, or, if the case does go to trial, appealing the decision, as long as there’s money available to pay his fees (which have been topping $2 million per month!).
The LaPierre apologists argue that this is a fight between the evil New York AG, and the virtuous, pure as the driven snow NRA, but that’s not the case.
While the New York Attorney General is indeed pretty evil, and there’s no doubt that her investigation into the NRA, with her admitted intent to destroy the Association, was absolutely politically motivated, her original motives play no role in what her investigation discovered: deep-seated corruption and abuse of power on the part of LaPierre and others at the top of the NRA hierarchy.
A good bit of that corruption and abuse has now been confessed to by LaPierre, yet he and his apologists dismiss his bad behavior as “trusting the wrong people” and not realizing that accepting expensive gifts – and giving expensive gifts at NRA expense – was a problem. They argue that, when he learned of an impending investigation by the NY AG, LaPierre initiated a thorough, top-down investigation into NRA’s dealings, cleaning up problems, instituting new policies, and off-loading vendors that wouldn’t go along with retroactive updating of invoices and other questionable bookkeeping requirements.
What they neglect to consider, is how the problems, shortcomings, invoicing issues, and other matters requiring “cleaning up,” got in that condition in the first place.
- How did it become standard practice for vendors to bill the NRA for millions of dollars, with no details on the invoices?
- How did it become standard practice for retiring NRA executives to be given consulting contracts worth as much or more than their salaries as employees, with no requirement that they provide any value at all to the Association?
- How did it become standard practice for former executives to receive severance payments equal to their full annual salary, for years after they quit or were fired?
As a member of the NRA Board of Directors in 2019 when these allegations first became public, Allen West questioned and challenged LaPierre and his supporters, and there was discussion of nominating West for EVP at that time, but there were arguments about “best” picks and “working on reforming the Association from the inside.”
In the end, West, and those who supported him, or otherwise demonstrated any disloyalty toward LaPierre, were purged from the Board.
Former NRA President, and leading LaPierre apologist, David Keene has written an attack piece, deriding LTC. West as a “good orator” who is otherwise totally incompetent. Keene suggests that the objective of those supporting LTC West is more about getting Wayne LaPierre out, than it is about getting the best-qualified person in, and I’ll agree with that last point.
The most important thing that needs to happen at the meetings in Houston, is the removal of Wayne LaPierre. He’s a cancer and stain on the Association, costing millions in lost contributions, and sending politicians running in the opposite direction. Personally, I would support a stuffed weasel for the position over LaPierre.
While I like West, and I believe he’ll do a good job as EVP of the NRA, I’m not sure he’s the absolute best person for the job. I don’t know if there is an absolutely best person for the job, and I’ve been seeking that unicorn for at least a decade. But I am absolutely sure that West is a better person for the job than Wayne LaPierre. And, since the position of Executive Vice President comes up for election in the Board of Directors every year, if it turns out that West is not a good fit, the Board can replace him with someone else next year, if they can find a better candidate.
The thing that every NRA member, and especially every NRA Director, needs to be looking at right now though, is not what good Wayne LaPierre has or has not done in his position as EVP of NRA in the past…
But rather how effective he is right now and is likely to be in the foreseeable future, and how much it is costing the Association – in money, trust, and influence – to keep LaPierre in power.
LaPierre had the opportunity to do the right thing back in April of 2019 when his misdeeds were suddenly splashed across the pages of the New Yorker magazine, and numerous people close to LaPierre advised a quick and as quiet as possible retirement. But instead, LaPierre chose to go with a scorched earth attack on anyone and everyone who expressed anything less than unflinching loyalty to him personally. He accused Olliver North of extortion, accused Chris Cox of mutiny, fired dozens of long-time NRA supporters and outside attorneys, and manipulated the removal of over a dozen Directors, while spending multiple millions of dollars per month of NRA members’ money, on the attorney who he described as “the only one keeping me out of jail.”
It is sad and frustrating that this lunacy has gone on for over three years now, and that it has come down to a test of loyalty, not to the NRA or the Second Amendment, but to Wayne LaPierre personally. LaPierre and his apologists have declared war on anyone who refuses to bow and kiss LaPierre’s ring. They keep paying him over a million-and-a-half dollars per year while paying his attorney over two million per month, and they say that those of us calling for reform are the ones trying to destroy the NRA. It’s pure lunacy.
Tell your NRA Directors to stop the madness and vote for Allen West for EVP. It only takes a simple majority to win.
You can write to any (or all) member(s) of the NRA Board of Directors by snail mail to: (Name of Board member), NRA Office of the Secretary, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030, or via email by sending to NRABoD@NRAHQ.org. You can also call 703-267-1021 to leave a message for a Director. You must include your name, contact information, and your NRA membership number (it’s printed on the mailing label on your magazine, usually preceded by 3 or 4 zeroes). The names and states of all Directors are printed in the Official Journal of the NRA magazines, usually a page or two from the back cover.
Let them hear from you, and please try to attend the Members’ Meeting in Houston on May 28th, 2022.
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About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs, and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.