The National Rifle Association has hit some choppy waters. Last year, the NRA bled $55 million in membership dues, and pulled in $27 million less in contributions. Now, the NRA has come under fire for lavish spending on the part of its top officials and vendors in spite of such huge losses.
The Washington Post reports that the group paid $400,000 to a former NFL player who served on the NRA’s board. The football player worked in community outreach. Meanwhile, another board member received $28,000 for writing content. While the NRA’s board of 76 members are not paid as part of their work as directors, 18 members collected funds for other work.
Then there’s the NRA’s CEO Wayne LaPierre, who managed to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of charges on luxury clothing and foreign travel. Oliver North, the NRA’s former president, tried to push LaPierre out. However, it turns out that North was set to be paid millions of dollars from Ackerman McQueen, a public relations agency. The payments looked a lot like kickbacks.
Meanwhile, the NRA’s outside legal attorney charged the organization millions in legal fees. Indeed, a report released by “The Trace” claims that in total, a small cadre of leaders have extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the organization. Now, the New York Attorney General is looking into the NRA’s finances.
The NRA now spends less than 10 percent of its total budget on its original mission: gun education, training, and safety. These days, the NRA is arguably more of a media company and has also spent nearly $10 million over the past two years lobbying federal lawmakers and agencies.