Joshua Powell — the former chief of staff whom the NRA fired in January — is set to release a book Sept 8 detailing the severe financial mismanagement of the gun rights advocacy group led by LaPierre. The NRA is “rife with fraud and corruption” and LaPierre “couldn’t run an organization on a fiscally sound basis to save his life,” Powell wrote, according to The New York Times.
The gun group saw a steep decline in leadership as board members jumped ship over the past year amid dueling lawsuits between the NRA and its former public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen.
The attorney general of New York concluded an 18-month investigation last month that revealed that top executives funneled contracts to friends and family members and used charitable funds for personal gain.
“The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law,” Attorney General Letitia James said in August.
Powell’s new book — “Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed and Paranoia Within the Most Powerful Political Group in America” — accused LaPierre of using national tragedies to line his own pockets.
After the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that left 20 children and six adult staffers dead, LaPierre rejected sensible gun control measures and created a program that would look at improving school safety — which became a way for the NRA to siphon money from its members, Powell wrote.
“Wayne was out there selling the program to our members, raising money off it, claiming we were protecting kids’ schools,” Powell wrote. “It was another example of the wizard behind the curtain — lots of inflamed rhetoric and fireworks and noise, but very little effective action on countering gun violence.”
The NRA leadership became masters at stoking the fears of its members, Powell added.
“We only knew one speed and one direction: Sell the fear,” Powell wrote. “It worked to excite the most extreme faction of our membership — They ate it up.”
Despite Powell’s perceived change of heart about the gun group, he himself appeared to benefit from the NRA’s corrupt practices.
The New York attorney general’s complaint said that the NRA fired Powell “for falsifying his travel expenses.” Powell allegedly charged roughly $58,000 in personal expenses to the nonprofit, according to documents reviewed by the Times.
Powell was also accused of sexual harassment before he was fired. Ackerman McQueen complained that company officials in 2018 had “clear reason to believe” that Powell “sexually harassed one of our senior employees.”
A previous sexual harassment claim against Powell was settled in 2017 using funds from the nonprofit organization, ProPublica reported.