USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- We’ve warned the NRA Board.
We’ve talked with past presidents and high-level insiders. We’ve advised, pleaded, and begged them to take action to prove that the Association’s governing body is in charge of the Association, that Directors understand their fiduciary duty is to the membership and not to serve as lackeys to Wayne LaPierre and his accomplices, co-conspirators, apologists, and enablers.
We have repeatedly detailed and documented the exorbitant salaries and contractor payments, the self-dealing, cronyism, fraud, kickbacks, and abuse that has been ongoing at the top of the Association for years. We’ve consulted with legal and financial experts, reporting their analysis and advice, and we’ve urged members to lobby their NRA Directors, just as they would their members of Congress or local government, demanding accountability and transparency.
We warned that, unless the Board stepped up and took significant actions to root out any hint of corruption or malfeasance, the New York Attorney General and the courts would use the lack of action as proof that the Association is corrupt to the core, and undeserving of any sort of second chance or opportunity to reorganize.
NRA Directors chose to ignore it all as just political attacks and those negative Knoxes grinding their daddy’s old axe.
NRA Board Fails to Take Corrective Action
On Monday, August 16, the NY AG filed a 193-page Revised and Amended Complaint against the NRA and four named defendants; EVP Wayne LaPierre, Secretary John Frazer, former Treasurer Woody Phillips, and former Deputy EVP Josh Powell. You can read the document by clicking the link above or below, or going to www.FirearmsCoalition.org. Please do read it and share it, as it’s very enlightening.
Just as we had predicted, the AG’s Amended Complaint digs deeply into the testimony of NRA officials and vendors during the NRA’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy trial, including damning testimony from LaPierre himself, and a couple of hours worth of “On the advice of counsel, I wish to invoke my rights under the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution and refuse to answer that question,” from former Treasurer Woody Phillips. And just as we had predicted, the AG is now focusing heavily on the Board’s failure to take substantive action to correct problems, its failure to distance the Association from those accused of wrongdoing, and its failure to institute policies and procedures to ensure no further abuse or malfeasance can occur, as well as instituting safeguards to ensure strict compliance with those policies and procedures.
The AG’s Amended Complaint points out, not only the Board’s failure to take any of the needed actions, but also the fact that additional abuse and misspending has occurred since the problems were clearly disclosed to the Board, and many of those abuses were actually approved by the Board or by committees of the Board, after the adoption of, and in direct contradiction to, their claimed “course correction” policies.
We’ve probably passed the point of no return, and it seems unlikely that the Association can be salvaged by any action of the Board. Even if the Board were to elect a new slate of officers, including a new Executive Vice President to replace Wayne LaPierre, which they could have done at their now-canceled Houston meeting, it’s likely that the judge would see the action as too little, too late. But that’s the only rational action any Board member could take to distance themselves from the lies, corruption, and gross mismanagement that’s been going on under their noses.
We had hoped NRA members would show up in droves at the Houston Annual Meeting of Members, to demand that the Board stop making excuses, and start taking substantive action to protect the Association. The decision to cancel the Houston meetings, and all of the events surrounding them, leave everything in limbo. The recently elected directors can’t be seated until the Association holds an Annual Meeting, meaning that the current Board remains in office. Election of officers can’t take place until the first Board meeting after the Annual Meeting of Members.
So Carolyn Meadows remains as President, Charles Cotton remains as 1st Vice President, Willes Lee remains as 2nd Vice President, and Wayne LaPierre remains as Executive Vice President and CEO.
The NRA Bylaws have long required that an Annual Meeting of Members be held every year prior to November 30. But at some point during the past year, the Board voted to amend the Bylaws to qualify that requirement with an exception for “acts of God,” such as a hurricane or a pandemic. That new bylaw gives the Board plenty of room to delay or even completely forego a Members’ Meeting this year. I expect though, that they will hold some sort of abbreviated meeting, similar to the one they held last year in Tucson, where Board members and their wives almost outnumbered Voting Members in attendance. Their hope would be to avoid a large turnout of angry members demanding change.
A shake-up in Houston was probably wishful thinking, and even if we could have pulled it off, it’s unlikely that it would have changed what’s coming. At this point, with or without major changes in the leadership structure and management of the Association, knowledgeable observers say it’s a better than even-money bet that the Association will be in receivership within a few months, with criminal charges filed against some staff and key Board members.
Nonetheless, I plan to be at the Members’ Meeting, whenever and wherever it eventually is held, trying to convince the Board to do what they should have done years ago. If members still had the legal authority to take substantive actions at the Members’ Meeting, as they did in Cincinnati in 1977, that’s what we would be trying to do. But the membership has been neutered over the intervening years, almost always with orchestrated votes by the members themselves. Today, members at an Annual Meeting have no real power, beyond creating a record and having a stage from which to possibly influence Directors.
The NRA is way more than just a rights advocacy organization. No other organization has the infrastructure and experience to take over the myriad of things the NRA does. Rebuilding the NRA will take years. Building something comparable from scratch, or even from an existing organization, would take decades, if possible at all. The New York court could turn out to be the Association’s last hope if the judge installs a good trustee to reorganize the Association with guidance from a Members’ Committee.
There’s no telling what the NRA “leadership” will do next. Whatever they do, we’ll let you know. If they do announce a new date, time, and place for a Members’ Meeting, I hope to see you there. You are the Gun Lobby, not the NRA, but the NRA has been the most powerful tool in our fight for rights, so I’m not going to let it go without a fight.
NY AG Letitia James Files a Revised & Amended Complaint Against NRA August 16th, 2021
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.