Tag Archives: NRA

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me, Says NRA’s Wayne LaPierre

New Orleans      It turns out that there’s a reason that Wayne LaPierre, the embattled chief of the National Rifle Association, doesn’t give many interviews to the press.  It because he comes off as an oblivious, self-centered, dissembling whiny baby.

A reporter for the New York Times Magazine, Danny Hakim, sat down with LaPierre for a series of long discussions and bent over backwards to let him try and wiggle out of the mess and scandals that have embroiled the NRA over the last several years.  Undoubtedly, he agreed hoping to turn the public relations disaster and membership crashes of the NRA under his leadership around.  It didn’t work.  He couldn’t make a case for the NRA, because he couldn’t put down the crying towel for himself long enough to even pretend there was a defense for their impossible positions.  Nor could he ever offer any semblance of excuse for his own self-dealing and money-grubbing behavior or curiously inexplicable decisions that are now bleeding out the organization in what some of his opponents term an “existential crisis,” but in many ways looks and reads like a falling out among thieves.

Why do I say this?  Here are some examples:

  • Speaking of the external investigations and internal conflict, his response was not the typical, “we’ll emerge stronger,” but an all-about-me, “It was horribly painful…I mean it’s the most painful period of my life.”
  • In a subtle plea for sympathy at 70, he “acknowledged a sense of mortality. His father, he said, found out he had Alzheimer’s at 75.”  He claims he’ll spend his last days fighting for the organization.  Yeah, right.  It’s still all personal as he then says, “If I lose every friend, I’m prepared to do it.”  Where do we find the memo that says running a big nonprofit is about whether you have friends?
  • When asked about his comment in a fundraising letter about “jackbooted government thugs” coming after the organization, he tries to deflect responsibility for his comments saying it was something written “downstairs.”
  • The $2 million a year contract with the public relations firm, Ackerman, to pay former Contra scandal colonel Oliver North as president of the NRA and then be reimbursed by the NRA, he tries to claim he didn’t approve or negotiate but just knew the details.
  • He blames his $250,000 shopping trips on his PR firm claiming it was about maintaining the brand, and this from a guy who the interview says will hardly look you in the eye when he speaks to you.
  • The controversial Russian trip some board members and donors took that was paid for by a foreign agent, he claims to have opposed with some offhanded comments, but didn’t stop.
  • At the end he compares the conflict and investigations to being “waterboarded.”

The fellow that comes off in this interview is pathetic, irresponsible, and incompetent.  He somehow thinks a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit like the NRA has a “safe harbor” to rectify all of their conflating of monies back and forth, he defends the excessive legal fees, and everything is someone else’s fault in their conflicted bureaucracy.

This guy should be a case study in the failure of nonprofit leadership and how money in politics can build up a strawman as a strongman.  If the IRS, the state of New York and Washington, D.C. don’t take away their tax exemption and force him out of his position and reform this organization, any of the NRA members that read about LaPierre’s piety party, should get rid of him.


How Much Longer Can Wayne LaPierre Hang On?

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.