The “leadership” of the National Rifle Association, are either thoroughly corrupt, delusional, or both. They held their Annual Meeting of Members on October 2nd, 2021, of this year, and the event was described by the new President of the Board of Directors, Charles Cotton as follows:
“The proceedings in Charlotte were an amazing celebration of NRA fellowship and freedom. Under the direction of Wayne LaPierre, the NRA is strong and secure – well-positioned to chart its course for the future.”
An “amazing celebration of NRA fellowship…”?
Cotton and LaPierre conspired to keep the meeting as sparsely attended as possible, moving the scheduled meeting from Houston to Charlotte, then not promoting it at all, and finally, setting up a ticketing service that reported the event as “sold out” almost as soon as the “tickets” were made available. Nothing about the meeting ever appeared in any of the NRA’s magazines, but they did, in a minimal nod toward technical compliance with New York law, publish two or three small notices in a local Fairfax, Virginia weekly newspaper. Information was belatedly added to the official website, in such a way as to be hard to find, then a few emails were sent out, but apparently only to relatively new Annual Members, who would be the least likely to be concerned about all of the accusations of financial chicanery in the Association, and who can’t even vote on most matters at a meeting.
In the end, the meeting room was only set up for between about 400 and 500 people, but counts by multiple attendees came in at between 120 and 140 people. That’s barely enough to comprise the 100-member quorum needed for a legal meeting. And almost half of those attendees were NRA Directors, many of whom were accompanied by their spouses, easily accounting for close to two-thirds of all attendees. Directors also got advance notice of the meeting and registration requirements, along with encouragement to bring friends and supporters.
With all of that, it was not at all surprising when a complex resolution from the floor by Director candidate Frank Tait, calling for a vote of “no confidence” against Wayne La’Pierre and others, and calling for their resignations, was blocked by a parliamentary move by Director Joel Friedman of California, with the support of 75% of the members present.
The meeting was an opportunity for NRA officers to pat themselves on the back and loudly proclaim that all is well, while the Association crashes down around them.
“Under the direction of Wayne LaPierre, the NRA is strong and secure – well-positioned to chart its course for the future.”
Seriously, what’s this guy smoking? Revenues are down dramatically. Membership is down dramatically. Influence on the Hill has all but disappeared. The headquarters building is mortgaged to the hilt and reported to be suffering from serious structural problems, particularly with the roof, which is reportedly leaking so badly that ceilings on the top floors have collapsed, forcing some offices to be relocated. Even Lloyds of London has refused to extend their liability insurance coverage for officers and directors. And the trial phase of the New York Attorney General’s suit against the NRA and its top executives is scheduled to begin in just a few more months.
Looting the National Firearms Museum’s Collection, True or False?
On top of all of that, there are now serious concerns about the state of the National Firearms Museum’s collection, and much of the concern is coming from the long-time Head Curator of that museum, Doug Wickford. I raised these concerns with several NRA Directors a couple of months ago, but unfortunately, those Directors who haven’t completely blocked me are on the outs with the “leadership,” and thus were unable to get any additional information. That means that rumors and speculation about the Museum and its vast collection of rare and unusual – not to mention extremely valuable – firearms remain just rumors and speculation. The fact that the former Head Curator has been blocked from even setting foot in the museum he helped to design and build, even for a farewell photo, has him concerned about what they might be afraid he’ll see – or won’t see – among the exhibits. His concerns lend significant gravity to the rumors and speculation.
There have also been rumors and anonymous reports of NRA Directors and other “insiders,” cherry-picking through firearms that are donated to the NRA, prior to Museum staff having access to them, and before they go out to auction for benefit of the Association.
Obviously, not every firearm donated to the Museum is worthy of being retained in the collection, and many are auctioned off as a regular course of business. This is always explained to donors prior to the consummation of any gift agreement. But the objective is always supposed to be to honor the wishes of the donor and raise funds for the Museum and the Association at large. If NRA insiders are able to acquire items at discount prices prior to auctions, the Museum and the NRA lose out.
With their “secret” meeting in Charlotte, and their overwhelming reelection of Wayne LaPierre and election of Charles Cotton President and David Coy 2nd Vice President, the Board has made it abundantly clear that they are fully committed to the current course, regardless of the desires of the members, or the laws that they’re supposed to operate under. Both Cotton and Coy testified in the failed bankruptcy trial, to their own failures and abuse of the Audit Committee. They both admitted that they’ve not bothered to hold Wayne LaPierre accountable for his multiple, self-confessed breaches of the Bylaws and policies of the NRA, and instructed the outside auditors to ignore LaPierre’s activities as well. These were the two “leaders” primarily responsible for making sure the NRA and its employees stayed on the straight and narrow, and they have confessed under oath to abdicating that responsibility, with no justification for that failure other than to say that they “trust Wayne.” And the response of the Board of Directors to this dereliction of duty was to elect them to the highest offices of the Board.
I now believe that the NRA is a lost cause. The “leadership” has effectively shut out dissenting voices, ignored valid, serious concerns, promoted corruption and incompetence, and stifled member participation. They’ve blown off documented and self-admitted breaches of NRA policies and basic business practices, as well as clearly criminal activities, yet they continue to claim that they are stronger, healthier, and moving in the right direction, like never before.
It’s a tragic farce and it’s all going to come crashing down very soon.
At some point in the very near future, NRA’s $2 million-a-month attorney, Bill Brewer, will decide that there’s no more money for him to suck out of the Association, so he’ll call a special meeting to inform the Executive Committee that the evidence compiled by the NY AG is too strong and overwhelming and that the Association’s best course will be to try and settle the case. He’ll convince them to pay their last pennies to the state of New York to try and keep their “leaders” out of jail, and maintain some shadowy semblance of the great organization they once were. They might even have to agree to give up their tax-exempt status or be forced to refrain from any lobbying or political activity.
Or perhaps they’ll keep on their present course until the judge declares the organization to be totally corrupt and either dissolves it completely, as Attorney General James is demanding, or puts it into receivership pending a total reorganization.
Whatever the end result, you can be sure that the NRA as we’ve known it for the past 150 years, is gone, and it will be many more years – if ever – before it will again be a serious player in US politics.
The emperor and all of his courtiers are glibly marching into a New York courtroom stark naked. What’s worse, they know they’re naked, but their answer to their nakedness is to clamp their eyes tightly shut. Perhaps if the leaders of the various state associations were to work together to have a coherent voice, they could help prevent the coming collapse or at least be able to pick up some of the pieces, but most of them appear to have their eyes firmly shut as well.
What a sad state of affairs.