6 NRA Board Members Have Now Jumped From Sinking Ship

The notorious gun group is being crushed by its own financial mismanagement and legal woes.
Womp womp.
Womp womp.
Illustration: Damon Dahlen/HuffPost; Photos: Getty

The National Rifle Association has experienced another in a long line of embarrassments after two more board members announced they are jumping ship from the gun group.

Richard Childress, a NASCAR team owner and the NRA’s first vice president, announced his resignation from the board of directors in a letter Monday, Newsweek reported. And country singer Craig Morgan resigned from the board on Tuesday, CNN reports. Six board members in total have now resigned this year. David Lehman, the deputy executive director for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, is also departing.

“At this time, it is necessary for me to fully focus on my business,” Childress said in a letter to NRA President Carolyn Meadows. “Since proudly agreeing to serve on the NRA board, I have supported the organization and its important mission to preserve and protect our Constitutional rights. But when, as now, I am no longer able to be fully engaged in any commitment I have made, it becomes time for me to step down. I have reached that point in my ability to continue to serve the NRA. As such, I must resign.”

Childress’ resignation letter ignored the gun group’s myriad financial and legal problems that have escalated over the past year. During the NRA convention in April, Childress timidly read a letter from the group’s president, Oliver North, announcing that North would not seek reelection after the leader made a failed attempt to oust chief executive Wayne LaPierre.

Since then, the group has only continued its infighting, and new lawsuits allege top executives cared less about gun rights than they did about making buckets of money. LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency, Ackerman McQueen, for more than half a million dollars over the years. The executive’s purchases also included a $39,000 shopping spree at a Beverly Hills store, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The propaganda arm of the gun group, NRATV, was shut down in June after Ackerman McQueen pulled the plug on it amid dueling lawsuits between the agency and the NRA.

And leaked NRA documents obtained by HuffPost revealed both North and Childress were “deeply concerned about the extraordinary legal fees the NRA has incurred” from attorney Bill Brewer. The letter alleged that $24 million was spent on legal services over a 13-month period.

Childress and Morgan are the latest ― though likely not the last ― of the NRA’s more than 70-member board to jump ship. Earlier this month, three other board members resigned after asking for basic transparency in LaPierre’s shady spending.

“Instead, we have been stonewalled, accused of disloyalty, stripped of committee assignments and denied effective counsel necessary to properly discharge our responsibilities as Board members,” the three wrote in a statement.

Weeks later, professional sport shooter Julie Golob also resigned, The Washington Post reported. The group’s second in command, Chris Cox, also resigned back in June following a lawsuit alleging he played a role in the attempt to oust LaPierre.

Also in August, a document obtained by The Wall Street Journal revealed LaPierre was close to getting $6.5 million from the NRA’s funds to buy himself a mansion. The reasoning, according to the document, was to provide safety to LaPierre following last year’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

But never mind the infighting. The real threat to the gun group will likely come from Washington, D.C., and New York’s attorneys general, who have both served subpoenas demanding financial records from the group that could lead to the loss of its tax-exempt status. Should that happen, the NRA may have to resort to its favored solution for getting through difficult times: thoughts and prayers.

This story has been updated to include the departures of Craig Morgan and David Lehman.

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