Opinion by Adam Kraut
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Over the past few months news of impropriety, questionable business dealings, lack of transparency regarding the inner workings of the NRA, and outrageous compensation have emerged. While the source for a lot of this information is not one that many people hold in high regard, much of the information has been independently verified. Jeff Knox through AmmoLand News has written extensively about these issues.
While NRA is currently embroiled in litigation in New York over the Carry Guard program, an IRS complaint has been filed seeking to question its non-profit status. Worse yet, the possibility of New York State (the state where NRA is chartered) for violations of state law loom as a very likely possibility. Perhaps more terrifying for some of the Board Members is the possibility of legal action in which they might be found personally liable.
Undoubtedly, the current state of affairs the NRA finds itself in happened under the watch of Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and various Board Members (those sitting on the Finance and Audit Committees) who apparently failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the organization and its members. I am calling for Wayne LaPierre and those Board Members to tender their resignations immediately. The very future of the organization depends on the ship being righted and righted quickly. Of equal importance, I call upon the Board to terminate all contracts with the marketing firm Ackerman-McQueen, along with any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, and to bring all public relations back in house.
The obvious question that arises from this call to action is “who will replace Wayne LaPierre?”
I don’t claim to have the answer for who ultimately fulfills that role, but I do have some ideas. First, an interim person will need to take on the part of Executive Vice President. The order of succession calls for the Executive Director of General Operations, but the Board can name someone more suitable if needed. Second, the Board should immediately form a committee to look for individuals who are qualified to run a non-profit of the NRA’s size and scope.
Make no mistake, these individuals should be heavily scrutinized in order to ensure that they are fit to run the NRA. Members of the organization should be permitted to submit names of those they think would be suitable candidates. The goal should be to canvas the largest field of qualified people and narrow down from there.
As mentioned to me by a former Board Member, this person should never become the face of the NRA. The idea of the NRA being synonymous with the Executive Vice President’s identity is a dangerous proposition that has in some ways led us to where we currently find ourselves. NRA’s public faces should come from its own in-house PR department and should be comprised of a wide demographic of individuals. After all, the NRA is comprised of over 5.5 million members.
Of equal concern is the compensation that has been paid to Wayne LaPierre, or perhaps I should say, will be paid too. Already netting over 1.4 million dollars a year, Wayne’s golden parachute ensures that he will continue to be paid as a speaker and consultant for the NRA at the full base salary he is currently receiving as Executive Vice President. Which raises a pressing question, how much will his replacement be paid? Moreover, to the extent this type of payment is rendered, how is NRA going to afford to pay it? Does it come from the constant requests for $20 donations from the members? If so, aren’t there more prudent ways to spend that money given the NRA has nearly exhausted its 25 million dollar credit line, liquidated 2 million dollars from an investment fund, borrowed close to 4 million dollars from its officers’ life insurance policy and about 5 million dollars from the NRA Foundation?
Then there’s the never-ending drain of money from the NRA by Ackerman-McQueen. As current Board Member Lt. Col. Robert Brown refers to them the “vampire vendor.” There is absolutely no reason that the NRA cannot and should not be doing PR on its own. The cost savings would be enormous. In-house talent would always work with the best interests of the association, not the vendor or its questionable billing practices.
The Colandro Challange
With that out of the way, there is one more issue to attend to. Numerous individuals have asked if I’d be running for the 76th Board Seat at the NRA Annual Meeting. Others have asked if I would endorse or support Anthony Colandro (who is now being supported by Wayne LaPierre, among others!?). I’ve decided to keep my options open. My name will appear on the ballot, however, if Mr. Colandro will join me in demanding that Wayne and the Board Members who failed to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities immediately resign, I will consider stepping aside and offering my endorsement. Without that commitment though, I could not in good conscience endorse any candidate.
For those attending the NRA Annual Meeting this year, I’ll see you there. I hope you’ll join me in demanding accountability from the Officers and the Board.
– Adam Kraut