New Orleans Normally, when I note that I’m sick of reading about the National Rifle Association, known to all as the NRA, that means that there’s been a mass shooting somewhere in the United States, and they have planted themselves in the road to block any path of reasonable reform. On those days, it’s impossible to read about the NRA without a feeling of disgust. These days though the NRA is also in the news almost daily with more shoes dropping about the greed, perfidy, and ruthlessness of its CEO Wayne LaPierre and the corruption rift throughout the organization. I read every word appalled at the level of total moral and ethical rot that has seeped into the organization and its leadership behind the grisly and deadly headlines of its waning influence.
The nation’s two largest news organizations, The New York Times and especially The Wall Street Journal are on LaPierre like a bad dream. The organization’s 76-member board is rift with resignations as some leave in disgust that the public reputation of the organization is falling like a rock, or they are being forced out by LaPierre as he tries to exact revenge on members and staff who supported a cleanup of the organization and a change at the top because of his profligate spending. Whistleblowers and the disenchanted inside the huge nonprofit must be carrying internal documents and financial reports of all his misdealings to the reporters in wheelbarrows! He has to be drowning in his own rage and bile. How much longer can he hang on?
Early reports documented almost a half-million in suits and luxury vacation trips that LaPierre had billed to the NRA’s former ad and PR firm out of Oklahoma. It was a falling out among the thieves! That would have been enough to topple a lesser tyrant, but LaPierre weathered that blow at least for a while.
Now it’s the thousand cuts that might get him.
There was a big check for $60000 that the NRA wrote for a down payment on a $6-million mansion in Dallas for him and his wife that they claimed was simply an advance to speed up the purchase for security reasons. More information came out that now looks like the NRA footed the whole $6-million tab.
There are these estimated $5000 a flight trips for his wife’s niece and her daughter, both of whom seem to work somehow for the NRA, to ferry them back and forth from Nebraska to DC or wherever. This is all so grimy that there’s no mention of nepotism.
Even if the members want to keep hiding their heads in the sand at all of these rip-offs, some of the problems are harder to ignore forever.
The Times charted the declining clout the NRA among Democrats in the House over the last decade leaving it with less than twenty representatives who made passing grades on its scorecard with the rest of the majority-controlled body all getting F’s. That’s political, but on the financial side, investigations by the New York Attorney General and the District Attorney for Washington, DC are having a field day as they examine the nonprofit status of the NRA in light of all of these revelations.
It’s not going to get better. LaPierre still has the ear of President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but both of them are politicians. They may listen with one ear still, but they read the paper and realize that LaPierre could stick on their shoes just like the weight he now is dragging down the NRA itself.
How long can he hang on? Not much longer I would bet, and for every day he does, the good news is that he is bringing the NRA down with him.