New General Counsel At NRA-ILA Brings More Baggage & No Specific Experience

Opinion by Rob Pincus

Wade Callender has in fact been hired as the new deputy executive director and general counsel for the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action
Wade Callender has in fact been hired as the new deputy executive director and general counsel for the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. The ILA’s new Top Lawyer has no political experience and has argued against some of the NRA’s positions in the past.

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Yesterday, we posted an article to the Friends of Save the Second discussion group about this very issue…. it went mostly unnoticed, but there was some back-channel challenge from people who couldn’t verify that Wade Callender has in fact been hired as the new deputy executive director and general counsel for the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action.

The NRA has been typically opaque with Members and American Gun Owners about this hire, although it was announced internally. We were tipped off to the lawyer’s problematic background and thought it was worth starting a conversation about.

The ILA’s new top lawyer has no political experience and has argued against some of the NRA’s positions in the past.

An article released this week by CNN confirms the hire publicly and spells out three primary concerns about Wade Callender:

  1. Callender has no apparent experience in politics or policy issues, nor does he have any ties to the Firearms Industry.
  2. Callender comes to the already troubled NRA while he is embroiled in a public legal dispute with his former employer that involves allegations of financial malfeasance and corporate irresponsibility.
  3. Callender comes from an industry that the Wayne LaPierre and others in the community have frequently attacked over the past decade, specifically from a company that produced “violent video games”.

From the CNN Article:

The former Gearbox employee previously worked as a trial attorney in Maryland and served as a judge advocate with the Navy, according to his LinkedIn page. His registration with the Texas Bar lists his specialties as intellectual property and entertainment law.

Callender’s hire, which was announced internally earlier this week, has already sparked concern within the organization.

A source said staffers are perplexed about why the NRA would hire someone with no apparent political experience from an industry LaPierre has demonized, particularly at a time when the issue of gun control is back in the news following a spate of mass shootings.

(September 6th Article on cnn.com)

The article goes on to cover the baggage that Callender is bringing with him:

He departed Gearbox on sour terms. Ever since, he and Gearbox CEO Randall Pitchford II (who also happened to be Callender’s decades-long best friend) have been trading jaw-dropping accusations in lawsuits.

The lawsuit against Callender accuses him of using Gearbox as his personal piggy bank and lending agency.

“While Callender regularly used the Gearbox credit card for anticipated business expenses such as airfare and meals related to business travel, he also abused the privilege of credit card access by charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses, including family vacations, gun club memberships and firearms accessories, and trying to get six-pack abs,” Gearbox attorneys alleged in their lawsuit.

(September 6th, 2019 CNN.com)

Before you start thinking that this is some kind of isolated “hit piece” from CNN, an article from a few months ago in D Magazine spells out the specific allegations of Callender’s wrongdoing in more detail… and it sounds a lot like the same things many of the current NRA Leadership and Directors are being accused of: Taking advantage of their positions for personal gain:

…Gearbox also claim that Callender persuaded them that he could add value with an executive MBA from Pepperdine, eschewing local MBA programs. They say that Gearbox paid the entire cost associated with the MBA, including tuition and “hotel and first-class airfare to Southern California multiple times per month”—to the tune of over $125,000. On top of that, Gearbox maintains that in 2017 and 2018, when Callender “found himself involved in contentious litigation regarding personal matters in Maryland,” it paid for the GC’s legal fees and expenses totaling more than $50,000. Gearbox also alleges that Callender abused the corporate American Express account by “charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses” that included family vacations to Disneyland, memberships to gun clubs like the Frisco Gun Club, and “trying to get six-pack abs” through charges to “sixpackshortcuts.com.” The most expensive such abuse, says Gearbox, came on Callender’s last day of employment when he obtained an increase on the American Express line of credit for the purpose of making a $17,000 payment to his Maryland attorneys, incurred the charge, and then “emptied his office and resigned as general counsel” without repaying the expense as promised.

D Magazine, May 2019

If you’ve never heard of “D Magazine,” it’s a Dallas lifestyle and local news publication. Guess what other controversial lawyer associated with the NRA and dealing with his own issues is from Dallas? William Brewer, III…infamous lead counsel for Wayne LaPierre and frequent donor to Liberal Politics. We have to ask if there is a connection there.

Who’s Making These Horrible Decisions?

We are left to wonder, once again, who is making these decisions at the NRA HQ? Is it really Wayne LaPierre acting independently? Is the Executive Committee of The Board of Directors? Is it William Brewer becoming the new Tail Wagging the Dog after the break-up with Ackerman-McQueen?

We know it isn’t the Board of Directors as a whole. We know it isn’t the Voting Members of the NRA. And, we certainly know it isn’t the average American Gun Owner.

We at savethe2a.org continue to work with and represent those who want a stronger and more effective NRA that we can be proud of. Join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Youtube.


Save the Second

About Save the Second

Save the Second, a non-profit organization, was formed in June of 2019 to represent the concerns of NRA Members, as well as former and potential NRA Members, who believe that the leadership and strategies of the NRA have failed and that the organization needs to be reformed in order to represent American Gun Owners and their concerns effectively. STS has proposed Five Points of Reform at their website savethe2a.org for consideration to improve the NRA.

For more information about Save the Second, The BoD Survey, The Five Points of Reform or other related issues, contact STS Board Member and Media Relations Representative, Rob Pincus at [email protected]

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Knute
Member
Knute

“sounds a lot like the same things many of the current NRA Leadership and Directors are being accused of: Taking advantage of their positions for personal gain:” In fact he sounds like a perfect fit for WLP’s NRA. Immoral, crooked, and likes to use the business he works for as his personal piggy bank. Sounds pretty darn familiar. The only problem might be… Just whose piggy bank is the NRA? I’ll bet WLP thinks its his, and NOT Callender’s. The question is, which one of them can manage to steal more from the NRA before getting caught? With his long… Read more »

Will
Member
Will

Join GOA ! The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington !

USMC0351Grunt
Member

@Will, The “Join GOA” rant is past boring. We KNOW! We GET IT! Put it to rest already!

Will
Member
Will

@@USMC,I’ll back off for awhile. Like you said,we get it ! Take care.

Jim
Member
Jim

HERE IS THE PROBLEM! Wayne is fully backed up by the Executive Committee which is made up of board members he got to appoint and install and who obviously support him–that is in the bylaws. The Executive committee runs the NRA when it comes to any requests or problems from regular board members and “other stuff.”. Pretty cool “circle talk” huh! This is not just an NRA internal thing–it is a problem of many millions of missing and spent dollars that Wayne, the weasels in the ad firm and a few other insiders are fighting over and now getting worried… Read more »

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@Jim, all true, but all we can do, about the NRA, is send our donations to one of the other fine Second Amendment supporting organizations. Restore the Republic!

Ansel Hazen
Member
Ansel Hazen

Take every piece of junk mail from them and return it with LaPierre Must Resign scrawled on it.

Old Bill
Member
Old Bill

Long ago one of the NRA’s Council pretty much seemed like a “Squish” not really committed to the 2nd Amendment.. Then one day on National TV in a back and forth session with an ATF Agent and Spokesmen the Agent became so angry (because Eric Gardner has simply put to lie the agents talking points.) The Agent became obviously angry then in frustration reached across the small table and grabbed Gardner by the arm.. Gardner’s first reaction was surprise then you could see the “Light go on” … In that moment he finally “Got it” .. He went on to… Read more »

Charlie Foxtrot
Member
Charlie Foxtrot

Looks like you don’t understand a slightest thing about the issues concerning the current NRA leadership. Right at this moment, the President and Congress are trying to ram through a gun control agenda with bipartisan support that we have not seen in decades. At the same time, the NRA fired or forced out its entire lobbying and legal team at the NRA-ILA. There is literally nobody left at the NRA-ILA and the NRA-ILA’s funds have been “loaned” to the NRA general fund. Then, the NRA leadership hires a lawyer for the NRA-ILA who has exactly zero lobbying experience and zero… Read more »

Ansel Hazen
Member
Ansel Hazen

I honestly think any rep from the NRA who sits down to talk with a politician should be dressed in full camo and a properly shined pair of GI issue Corcoran 10″ leather jump boots. They need to know who they are dealing with.

Circle8
Member
Circle8

I guess lapierre is not through trying to destroy the NRA. I assume that by hiring this unqualified person he is going to finish it off. The members and the board need to flush the toilet and get rid of lapierre and his puppet.

pigpen51
Member
pigpen51

I know of some of Rob Pincus’ detractors objections to him. And in perhaps some ways, they have a point. But the main thing is, Rob is a super strong voice that is recognized throughout the gun world. And he is making good points. Just because you don’t like the messenger, doesn’t mean that you should hate the message. If you are a member of the NRA, then you should be VERY concerned with this latest hire by them. At a time when they know that every single thing they do will be under a microscope, not only by the… Read more »

American Patriot
Member
American Patriot

The NRA has been infiltrated by liberals & Wayne and the Board will trade money for blood!

Link
Member
Link

At least he is a gun owner.

Bowserb46
Member
Bowserb46

Half the anti-gun Democrats make that same claim. “I’m a gun owner, but…” And they the proceed down the path to taking ours.

Will
Member
Will

@Bowserb46,or they say,.I support the 2A,but…

HoundDogDave
Member
HoundDogDave

Any hope that the NRA can be saved is fading fast. So sad and unnecessary for it to end like this, it breaks my heart. I think it is about time for the AGs from NY and DC to euthanize this org and put it out of it’s misery.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@HoundDog, Can anyone be saved from financial decisions such as these?

Bowserb46
Member
Bowserb46

NRA has become the Enron of nonprofits.

Oldvet
Member
Oldvet

@HoundDog…Would be interested in info on that cloaking device .

JPM
Member
JPM

Looks like LaPierre has been out hiring disingenuous toadies again. I hope Wayne has a couple cases of Monkey Butt powder for that chapped ass he’ll be getting from all the kissing from his new hire.

Green Mtn. Boy
Member
Green Mtn. Boy

@ JPM

There in lies the question,will he kiss La PewPew’s butt,from his resume it has a affirmative ring to it.

USMC0351Grunt
Member

@Green Man. Boy, if he does will that mean that the next, “Whine Club” type fundraiser for the NRA be to send in case loads of chapstick?

Oldvet
Member
Oldvet

@JPM …Thought you were going a different direction , like concerning latrine’s new address . Do you suppose he will reside at a posh house of reform , ??

Will
Member
Will

@Oldvet,justice will be Lapierres name turning into a number !

Oldvet
Member
Oldvet

@Will…AMEN and a few more with him.

Felixd
Member
Felixd

More non-specific BS just at a time when the socialists think we are at our weakest. Nice job Pincus. Keep driving you CNN referenced yellow paper crap so you can you can divide our strength at the time we need it. I’m sure you will be taken care of by your friends on the left.

Charlie Foxtrot
Member
Charlie Foxtrot

Our resident NRA shill again. LOL. The Wade Callender v. Randall Pitchford II fight is pretty well known in the gaming world and the court documents are online, for example: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5683065-397273508-Gearbox-Suit-Against-Callender.html and https://courtsportal.dallascounty.org/DALLASPROD/DocumentViewer/Embedded/YyjHsCkKpNB5vNoPb8TO5YdM8GB65CNnr6uLRBNYSq-KaX4-tCcPFSRLABGoXyXH9F86N0hbKPgcnEF7kLaYSymetnSRmZeRtX2bSpHh_1Q1?p=0 and https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/01/gearbox-ceo-allegedly-kept-underage-porn-on-usb-stick-new-lawsuit-alleges/. So, your claim that this is all BS and yellow journalism is absolute nonsense. The current NRA leadership likes to surround itself with people that have questionable records. After all, Bill Brewer is not allowed to practice in his home state, because he illegally influenced jurors and witnesses and was fined $177,000. He then lied to a Virginia judge about that, which got him thrown… Read more »

Nanashi
Member
Nanashi

Pitchford is well known to be a lying scumbag in the video game industry. Aliens: Colonial Marines was the result of him being paid to develop a game by Sega, taking most of the money for himself, faking reports to Sega and subcontracting to a small studio to produce SOMETHING at a tiny budget, which would up being one of the worst games its era. He’d under investigation for further frauds. His accusations aren’t really credible.

That said, nobody who joins with LaPierre is that credible either.

Will
Member
Will

@Nanashi,sounds like a perfect fit for the former NRA !