POLITICS

NRA Board Members Say New President Lied About Disclosing Financial Troubles

Leaked documents reveal the National Rifle Association is drowning in legal fees. Board members say they didn't know.

The National Rifle Association continues to implode amidst accusations of financial mismanagement by its highest-ranking officials. Now two board members are speaking out against the gun rights group.

Recent statements by newly elected NRA President Carolyn Meadows “are outright lies,” NRA board member Allen West said in a statement on Tuesday.

West, a former Republican congressman from Florida, was referring to a series of public comments by Meadows, who claimed that board members were already aware of the group’s massive financial troubles.

On Friday, a trove of internal NRA documents was released anonymously online and verified by both The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal. They revealed that the group’s recently departed president, Oliver North, had warned top-ranking officials that the NRA was drowning in legal fees.

“The amount appears to be approximately $24 million over a 13-month period,” said the nine-page letter written in April, which has been viewed by HuffPost. North said the group was burning nearly $100,000 every day, “seven days a week, every day of every month,” in payments to a law firm.

Another letter revealed that NRA CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has blown through more than a half-million dollars on clothing, travel and other expenses over the years, including a $39,000 shopping spree at a Beverly Hills store.

For all the damning information, Meadows said in a statement last week that it was “stale news” and that the “entire board is fully aware of these issues.” But at least two board members say otherwise.

“It has become very apparent that I need to speak out about what is happening at the National Rifle Association,” West wrote. “I have never been told, advised, informed, or consulted about any of these details mentioned in the WSJ, and who knows how much more despicable spending of members’ money,” he continued.

Another board member, Colorado activist and small-business owner Timothy Knight, also expressed his surprise at the financial bad news in a Facebook statement on Sunday.

“I certainly did not know all those things being leaked nor do I believe that the whole Board was aware,” Knight wrote. He added that he would “most likely lose my committee assignments and not be renominated” to the board for speaking out.

West said changes to the NRA need to include removing LaPierre from his longtime position, reducing the number of board members from 76 to 30 or fewer, and limiting board members to four terms. 

“I do not support Wayne LaPierre continuing as the EVP/CEO of the NRA,” West wrote. “There is a cabal of cronyism operating within the NRA and that exists within the Board of Directors. It must cease, and I do not care if I draw their angst.”

CONVERSATIONS