NRA in crosshairs: Editorial demands de-funding, D.C. AG issues subpoenas

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Four days after The Truth About Guns published an editorial contending that “It’s time to de-fund the NRA,” The Hill is reporting that the office of District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine issued subpoenas to the National Rifle Association and its charitable arm, the NRA Foundation as part of an investigation to determine whether they violated the District’s Nonprofit Act.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is in the middle of a firestorm.

In his lengthy editorial, TTAG’s Dan Zimmerman declared that the NRA “is in an existential crisis…brought on by mismanagement, cronyism, and self-dealing by its leadership.”

Social media has been hyper for several weeks as gun owners argue with one another about the leadership and direction of the 143-year-old civil rights organization. NRA’s longtime Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has been virtually under siege since the April annual members’ meeting in Indianapolis, where retired Lt. Col. Oliver North stepped down in what has been portrayed as a power struggle.

The Washington Post and other news agencies broke the story about the subpoenas.

Three weeks ago, NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox was suspended, and a week later resigned as executive director of the group’s Institute for Legislative Action. He has denied being part of an alleged “coup” attempt to force LaPierre out.

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The drama also involves a lawsuit filed by LaPierre against the organization’s longtime public relations agency, Ackerman McQueen, which filed a counter-suit.

There have been allegations of lavish spending on clothing and travel, Ackerman McQueen no longer represents NRA, and NRA-TV has been shut down.

The subpoenas are the latest chapter in the NRA’s woes that began last spring with reports in The Trace—a news organ created by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s empire—and other publications, including the New Yorker, about the organization’s finances.

Several weeks ago, NRA Director Lt. Col. Allen West called on LaPierre to step down, according to Fox News. And earlier this week, Zimmerman’s lengthy editorial appeared.

In a statement provided to Conservative Firing Line by NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, NRA counsel William Brewer III said, “The NRA will cooperate with any appropriate inquiry into its finances. The NRA has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance.”

Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, added, “The Association’s financials are audited and its tax filings are verified by one of the most reputable firms in the world. Internally, the Association has an appropriate conflict of interest policy, which provides that all potential conflicts are reviewed and scrutinized by the Audit Committee. The NRA is committed to utilizing best practices in the areas of accounting and governance.”

According to The Hill, Racine issued his own statement, explaining the subpoenas.

“The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia has issued subpoenas to the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) and the NRA Foundation, Inc., as part of an investigation into whether these entities violated the District’s Nonprofit Act…We are seeking documents from these two nonprofits detailing, among other things, their financial records, payments to vendors and payments to officers and directors.”

In his editorial, Zimmerman asserted that LaPierre, in the aftermath of the alleged “coup” attempt, “began a purge of NRA leadership and installed a cadre of those loyal to him.”

It is particularly bad timing for the NRA to be in the line of fire, with the 2020 national elections looming, and a lineup of Democrats willing to challenge President Donald Trump, all with their own restrictive gun control agendas.

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