Tag Archives: NRA

NRA Board Election Endorsements for 2021 ~ Including Who NOT to Vote For

If you are a Voting Member of the National Rifle Association, you should have received your ballot for this year’s NRA Director elections. The ballots are primarily distributed as an insert in your NRA magazine (the June/July edition), or for those who don’t receive a physical magazine, your ballot should be mailed as a stand-alone piece.

Only Life Members and Annual Member who have maintained their membership for 5 consecutive years, are eligible to vote.

Due to the pandemic, the schedule got twisted in a way that made it impossible for any petition candidates to qualify for the 2021 ballot. That’s likely to happen again next year. The Nominating Committee could have made accommodations for the unusual circumstances, but moved on in business-as-usual fashion, disregarding the Bylaws and the concerns of the members. I’m particularly disappointed in Bob Barr, who chaired the Nominating Committee last year, as once again, the most important factor in whether someone received a nomination, appears to have been whether they are likely to support Wayne LaPierre and the current leadership.

On your ballot, you have 28 candidates to fill 25 seats. Note that although you can vote for up to 25 names, you are not obligated to vote for that number. Voting for less than 25 amounts to a vote against the other candidates.

Most of the candidates offered are current members of the Board, and almost all of those will be reelected, just because the majority of Voting Members who bother to vote, routinely vote for incumbents first.

I am endorsing only two candidates whose names appear on the ballot:

  • Owen Buz Mills of Paulden, Arizona, and James Tomes of Wadesville, Indiana. Buz Mills is the owner of Gun Site Academy, and has long been active in Arizona politics, including a run for governor.
  • Jim Tomes is the founder of a solid 2A group in Indiana, and served several years in the Indiana Senate. I’ve known him for many years and know him to be a man of humility and integrity.

Those are the only names on the ballot I can endorse. I encourage you to mark your ballot for only those two and no one else, then turn the ballot over and write in the following three names:

  • Frank C. Tait of Wayne, PA
  • R.B. Rocky Marshall of Boerne, TX
  • Duane Liptak, Jr. of Austin, TX

As usual, the ballot includes a share of people whose policy positions have earned my direct opposition. At the top of the Don’t Vote For list is current Board President Carolyn Meadows of Marietta, Georgia who is one of Wayne LaPierre’s biggest enablers. Mrs. Meadows has the support of the American Conservative Union [a hot-bed of RINO Republicans] and historically has easily won her seat, coming in 4th or 5th in the balloting each time she runs. I have no illusions that I can block her reelection, but I want my opposition on the record.

Another American Conservative Union-associated candidate on the ballot is Past President David Keene of Fort Washington, Maryland. Mr. Keene has also been an outspoken supporter of LaPierre and company, and much of the financial chicanery that has put the NRA in such a precarious position happened during his presidency. Since his terms as President, Mr. Keene has been receiving some $50k per year to attend Friends of NRA Banquets. What dedication! By sheer coincidence, an article penned by Mr. Keene happens to be included in the magazines, just after the ballots. Between his support from the ACU and his name and picture being prominently placed next to the ballot in the magazines, it’s again, highly unlikely that we can block his reelection, but tell your friends, he doesn’t deserve your vote.

The final candidate I’m actively opposing is Scott Bach of Newfoundland, New Jersey. I have endorsed Mr. Bach in the past, but his dogged defense of LaPierre has earned my opposition. Mr. Bach was one of the first members of the Board to publicly come out in support of LaPierre after the revelations that were published in the New Yorker in early 2019. In an article in Ammoland Shooting Sports News, he explained that it was LaPierre who discovered the “problems” in the NRA, and made the necessary “course corrections” to “right the ship.” What Mr. Bach failed to explain is why it took LaPierre over 20 years to notice the exact “problems” that he went to war with Neal Knox to preserve in 1997, but has supposedly corrected now, and that well after the “course corrections,” LaPierre and others, including scandal-ridden former Treasurer Woody Phillips, and shameless self-promoter Marion Hammer, received massive “golden parachute” contracts promising them millions in future “consulting” payments. He also failed to explain why the NRA has continued to pay Democrat attorney William Brewer over $2 million per month, after LaPierre repeatedly declared that Brewer was “the only one who can keep me out of jail.”

NRA Board Election Ballot 2021
NRA Board Election Ballot 2021

There are several others on the ballot who I really don’t think belong on the NRA Board of Directors, but the truth is, the seats are going to be filled. For the sake of ease of sharing, I’ll leave the Don’t Vote For list at just these three: Meadows, Keene, and Bach.

The candidates elected in this election will be seated at the Members’ Meeting in Houston on September 4 2021. They will then join the other 50 Directors at a Board of Directors meeting in Houston on Monday September 6, at which time the President, 1st VP, 2nd VP, and Executive Vice President will all be elected. Historically, the Nominating Committee simply puts forward a slate of the incumbents, and no one else is nominated, so the slate is “elected by acclamation.” That’s what happened in Indianapolis in 2019, and in Tucson in 2020, and that’s what they want to happen in Houston in 2021.

This year, we intend to offer a full slate of alternative candidates to challenge the incumbents, but we need your help to make those efforts successful.

We need you to be actively lobbying every current and potential future member of the Board, demanding that they stop the lies and corruption, and return the Association to the members. There are only about 15 Directors who are completely in the tank for LaPierre and company, and about an equal number who are very troubled by the current regime and the situation they’ve created. The rest just sort of follow the path of least resistance, so it’s critical that you pressure them to stop spending the NRA’s resources on protection of LaPierre, and start focusing on protection of the NRA.

Here are some questions to ask current NRA Board Members:

  1. Do you believe Wayne LaPierre’s continued employment by NRA helps or hurts the organization and its mission?
  2. Do you believe Wayne LaPierre’s continued employment by NRA helps or hurts the NRA’s case in NY?
  3. Who do you think would make a reasonable candidate for Interim EVP, to realign the NRA, if LaPierre were to resign tomorrow? Give two options please.
  4. Can you suggest two names of current Directors who you could/would support for President of the Board?
  5. Can you suggest two names of Directors who you could/would support for 1st VP of the Board?
  6. Can you suggest two names of Directors who you could/would support for 2nd VP of the Board?

Don’t let them skirt around these simple questions – get answers.

Remind these Directors that their first loyalty is supposed to be to the Association and its members, not any one man or leadership team. If Wayne LaPierre really cared about the Association, he’d have resigned, just to avoid being any sort of obstacle to NRA’s future success, whether he had done anything wrong or not. If Directors were thinking about the good of the Association first, they’d have demanded LaPierre’s resignation, and elected someone to replace him in Indianapolis in 2019, rather than circling the wagons around him and spending tens of millions defending him over the best interests of the Association for the past two years.

The final lobbying effort comes in Houston at the Members’ Meeting, where we need to turn out in droves to demand that the Board do what they should have done over two years ago, and elect someone with an untarnished record to lead the Association’s defense in the New York case, and on to restoration of the Association.

It’s up to you. I’m just a gnat buzzing around the Board’s ears. You’re who they’re supposed to be working for. If you don’t push them between now and September to do what’s right, then show up in Houston on September 4, to demand that they take action, then the battle is lost – possibly forever, as Letitia James has said she intends to resume the case against NRA and LaPierre early next year.

Houston in September could very well be our last opportunity to right the ship and save the NRA, so now is the time to lobby your Directors and stand up for your Association.

Please share this article with all of your NRA member friends. We need everyone working together on this.

NRA Bankruptcy and Other Court Documents

We’re gathering and posting documents from the NRA’s bankruptcy and other legal cases, so readers can reference them.  Additional documents will be added over time.

Tax exempt donations to support Phil Journey’s efforts can be sent to: CDFE c/o Phil Journey,
PO Box 501
Haysville, KS  67060

Here’s the empty Reorganization Plan approved by the Board on May 1: reorg-plan

NRABankruptcyPetition

BrewerCounselPetition

CreditorCommittee

JourneyMotionForExaminer

Debtor’s info Brief

Dkt.-131-AMcs-Motion-to-Dismiss

NYAGMotiontoDismiss

NRA’s Financial Statement

MMPMotionforNewCreditorCommittee

TrusteeObjectiontoBrewer

Motion for Members

 

2020 NRA Annual Member Meeting Registration Now Open – Very Limited Space

National Rifle Association NRA
2020 NRA Annual Member Meeting Registration Now Open – Very Limited Space

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The NRA has opened up “Preregistration” for the October 24th, 2020, Members’ Meeting in Tucson, starting at NOON on September 15th, Arizona time!

We’re just over a month away from the NRA Annual Meeting, which has been twice moved and rescheduled, and which is now scheduled to take place in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, October 24, 2020.

The venue for the meeting is a luxury resort hotel on the far north side of the city, with a large ballroom, but limited capacity under COVID restrictions. NRA watchers have been wondering how the Association plans to handle the situation, and on Monday, September 15, 2020, we found out.

We were informed that on Tuesday, September 16, people wishing to attend the Members’ Meeting in Tucson would need to preregister online, by going to www.nraam.org/membersmeeting.

Arizona’s current COVID restrictions are somewhat confusing. Public gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people, but a members-only event should not be considered a “public” gathering, which should mean that the maximum capacity should be approximately half the normal capacity for the venue. That should be approximately 500 people for the hotel ballroom that has been selected, but there are rumors that the limit will be much lower than that. Who knows? It’s also quite possible that the Governor of Arizona will decide to loosen COVID restrictions at some point between now and October 24. Again, who knows?

What matters right now is that everyone who is at all interested in attending the NRA Members’ Meeting in Tucson on October 24, get registered TODAY.

I’ll share any additional information as it becomes available.

Josh Powell’s Book a Kiss & Tell on Inside Dealings of the National Rifle Association

Inside the NRA A Tell-All Account of Corruption
Inside the NRA A Tell-All Account of Corruption

Liberty, AZ, USA – It was almost a year ago that I had a conversation with several other concerned NRA members about the curious case of Josh Powell.

It was shortly after the annual Fall Board Meeting in 2019, which had been hastily relocated from Anchorage Alaska to Northern Virginia, and we were speculating on why Powell hadn’t yet been fired. He had driven NRA’s Carry Guard program straight into the ground, costing millions and seriously disrupting the whole Education and Training Division in the process. He had multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him and had either created or had failed to rectify, serious problems within the NRA Competitions Division and among competitive shooters.

The consensus among our little discussion group, was that Powell probably had too much information about too many of the people and activities deep inside the NRA’s inner circle, and he was being kept on the payroll to keep him from sharing any of that information – either with investigators from New York and DC or with reporters and NRA members.

A few months later, Powell was finally fired, and several of us were looking for details on the outrageous severance package that we assumed he must have received to purchase his silence. Barring that, we expected another series of anonymously-sourced articles revealing sordid details of NRA executives behaving badly.

But Powell has surprised most all of us, with the announcement of his new book;

“Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed and Paranoia Within the Most Powerful Political Group in America.

Powell says he rejected a handsome severance package because it included a strict non-disclosure agreement, which he wasn’t willing to sign. I interpret that to mean that LaPierre wasn’t willing to fork over enough to buy Powell’s silence, so he instead either relied on loyalty or the principle of all hanging together to avoid hanging separately. What a significant error. I suspect that Powell probably worked a deal with Letitia James’ office to allow him to publish the book without fear of legal complications, though it could be a simple bet that he thinks he can make more off of the book than he was offered in the severance package. But there’s always the possibility that someone like Bloomberg saw the potential of a resource like Powell, and offered him a quiet advance on a book deal.

Whatever the process, I have to wonder what could possibly come out in the book that isn’t already known? After all, the accusations in the New York suit are based primarily on depositions given to the NY AG’s office by various current and former NRA employees, including Powell. If he includes things in his book that he omitted from his deposition to NY investigators, he’d be opening himself up to charges of perjury or worse. But, as mentioned above, Powell might have cut a deal in advance, and there’s no doubt that he was present for a lot of meetings and events, the details of which will make for interesting reading.

Of course, whatever Powell says in the book will be dismissed by the NRA as merely the sour grapes of a disgruntled, former employee. I recall an NRA spokesperson saying that the organization doesn’t comment on works of fiction, in response to questions raised by unflattering depictions of LaPierre in Richard Feldman’s book “Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist.” There’s also the possibility that we’ll see Powell sued by LaPierre’s attorney, William Brewer, to either suppress the book or at least suck down the profits a bit. That legal action will, of course, be paid for with NRA members’ money.

Joshua Powell
Joshua Powell

For those who might not be familiar with Josh Powell, that’s not surprising. Powell appeared on the NRA scene, seemingly out of the blue, just a few years ago. Few people in the industry were familiar with him and virtually no one within the rights movement knew his name. Powell appeared on the NRA Nominating Committee’s slate of candidates for the Board in 2013, for the 2014 election. He was elected as one of the establishment candidates, but not long thereafter, he was offered a job in Headquarters as LaPierre’s right-hand man. Then, a couple of years later, in 2017, LaPierre fired the Executive Director of General Operations, Kyle Weaver. Weaver had worked his way up through the ranks of the NRA, as a dedicated, hard-working, true believer, and had begun to be mentioned as a possible successor to Wayne. Then suddenly, he was gone and Powell was being touted as the heir apparent. The only explanation LaPierre offered to Board members who asked about Weaver’s sudden departure, was that he couldn’t talk about it yet, but that it “had to be done,” and he’d disclose everything soon.

Soon never came, and to my knowledge, no explanation has ever been given as to why Weaver, the number two man in the entire NRA operation, had been summarily fired. What we do know is that Weaver appears to have continued receiving his full, $720,000 annual compensation for at least two years after leaving NRA. He now serves as Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Weaver was initially replaced by then-Deputy Director of General Operations, Joe DeBergalis, who was also recruited from the Board of Directors. He appears to have been paid $368,000 as Deputy Director, then $461,000 as Acting Director of General Operations, until he was replaced by LaPierre’s Chief of Staff, Josh Powell, who was already pulling down over $711,000. That jumped to about $920,000 after Powell took over General Operations.

Powell appears to be one of those guys with a reverse-Midas touch, as in everything he touches turns into something exactly the opposite of gold. He started in the outdoors industry in the catalog business, selling high-end “safari” and “expedition” clothing. He appears to have tried that in a couple of different iterations, all of which failed, leaving a trail of lawsuits and bankruptcies in his wake. At NRA, Powell took charge of the new NRA Carry Guard program, immediately stepping in excrement when he barred the US Concealed Carry Association and other groups that offered concealed carry insurance, from exhibiting at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. That created quite a brouhaha and was widely seen as petty and vindictive.

Things went downhill from there, with New York, then Washington State and then several other states, throwing penalty flags on Carry Guard and the sales and marketing practices being employed by NRA and its contractors. This led to a variety of fines, penalties, and lawsuits, costing NRA tens of millions of dollars. New York led the charge, but overplayed their hand, threatening any business that did business with the NRA. Their heavy-handed tactics were so egregious that even the ACLU came to NRA’s defense. This led to NRA suing New York and its governor, Andrew Cuomo. That suit is ongoing and has been ridiculously expensive for the Association.

Powell was never well-liked by NRA staffers or the Board of Directors. While he was often mentioned as being groomed to take the EVP position if Wayne decided to retire, several Directors told me in no uncertain terms that they would never allow that to happen. The only people Powell actually seemed to get along with were Wayne, his new attorney, Bill Brewer, and former NRA President Pete Brownell.

The revelations in Powell’s book could be interesting, after all, he was very close to LaPierre during a pivotal and contentious time, so there’s really no telling what sort of information he might have been privy to, but it seems unlikely that there would be a large enough market for the book to make it worth walking away from, what was probably better than a million-dollar severance package.

I’m hoping to procure an advance copy of the book, and I’ll let you know what I find.

New York Attorney General Finally Pulls the Trigger on the NRA

New York Attorney General Letitia James declared her intention to tear down the NRA years ago, even before her election as AG, and she’s finally making good on the threat. The AG’s office filed suit against the Association, claiming that executives and leaders in the NRA had grossly abused their positions, and misappropriated some $64 million dollars from NRA funds. Her remedy for the corruption and malfeasance is to dissolve the Association and dole out its assets among other charitable organizations within the state of New York.

While there is no doubt that the investigation into the NRA and the suit are politically motivated and intended to damage the gun rights movement as well as Donald Trump’s reelection bid, the brutal truth is that the suit has merit. The NRA leadership has been corrupt and complicit in corruption for at least 20 years.

In response to the suit, the NRA immediately filed a counter-suit against the state of New York for using the power of the state to squelch the Association’s First Amendment rights.

In a letter to NRA Board Members, NRA CEO and Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre declared his intention to fight the attack to the bitter end, and I have no doubt that he will absolutely do so, right down to the last penny in NRA’s treasury.

I have a problem with that, and so should you, if you’re an NRA member. The lawsuit against the NRA stems from improper use of funds on the part of LaPierre and his executive staff. Most of the allegations against LaPierre and company have never been adequately addressed, or even denied. Instead, excuses and counter-charges have been offered up, most of them blaming the messenger. The bulk of LaPierre’s dirty laundry was exposed in an article by reporter Mike Spies, who was working for Bloomberg’s anti-rights “newsroom” entity “The Trace.” Spies was given an assignment to flesh-out some rumors and see what kind of dirt he could dig up on the NRA and its leaders. It turned out that there was a lot of dirt available not far below the surface, and there were a number of NRA employees and former employees ready to share what they knew about the shady dealings of NRA’s top executives.

Spies is a good investigative reporter. His story has details of bloated contracts, cronyism, nepotism, self-dealing, and other chicanery, with documentation and corroboration from multiple sources. Like the lawsuit from New York, the motivation for digging into NRA’s financial affairs was unquestionably political, but the results aren’t based on the motivations of the person doing the digging. As always, I wear my own bias on my sleeve, encouraging readers to recognize that, in spite of my efforts to be fair and accurate, my family’s long and tumultuous history with the NRA could be tainting my reporting, so I encourage people to always explore multiple sources. The NRA brass led with their chins. AG James has obliged them with what could be a knockout blow.

Despite the merit of Letitia James’ lawsuit, her remedy – dissolution of the Association – is nothing short of ludicrous. Her obligation and responsibility is to protect the owners of the organization’s assets. In this case, that means protecting the NRA members who fund the organization. Removing top executives, LaPierre in particular, would be reasonable and justifiable, as would removing the entire Board of Directors and possibly restructuring the leadership. Anything beyond that would be punishing the victims – NRA members.

But that’s exactly what James and Cuomo want to do.

That is because at its heart, this is all about their disagreement with the political positions of the NRA, and not at all about protecting the Association or its members.

The NRA could make a very sound argument to that effect, and probably resolve this whole mess in a matter of days, rather than the long years that I expect this to actually last. If the NRA actually had leaders who cared about the members, leaders who were looking out for their best interests, everyone with even a hint of scandal would have already been removed from their positions, and a series of reforms and protections would have been put into place to ensure that the Association could move forward without repeating the mistakes of the past. The guilty parties who were getting rich off of the largess of NRA members, might even be brought up on criminal charges, and sued to recover some of what they improperly took.

Over a year ago, I said the NRA Board of Directors had two choices in the face of the revelations of malfeasance at the top of the organization:

  1. They could remove the miscreants and fix the problems, admitting any wrongdoing, and facing whatever uncomfortable music might come along with that admission, or
  2. They could circle the wagons around Wayne LaPierre and keep circling right down the toilet.

That same choice is presenting itself once again, but this time the stakes are even higher and the crowd is watching. The Board of Directors will soon have a convenient opportunity to replace Wayne LaPierre with a simple majority vote. If they take that opportunity, and follow-up with other reforms and course corrections, they could be in a reasonable position to walk into court and convince a judge to dismiss the suit against the Association with minimal damage.

Not taking that opportunity will mean years of continuing legal wrangling with the authorities in New York, costing the Association millions of dollars every month in direct expenses, and costing them millions more in lost revenue because so many people see LaPierre as a problem and refuse to support the organizations as long as he remains in office. It also means foregoing any chance of recovering any of the tens of millions of dollars that were improperly sucked out of NRA’s coffers over the years by LaPierre and his cronies.

The NRA has canceled, rescheduled, and canceled again their Annual Meeting of Members. They are now saying that they will hold the meeting on October 24th in Tucson, Arizona, the same day that the Second Amendment Rally is scheduled in Washington DC. If this date holds, I hope thousands of NRA members from around the country will make it a point to attend and demand that the Board of Directors take meaningful action to stop the lunacy and put the NRA back on track again.

If Letitia James and Andrew Cuomo get their way, the NRA will spend the next several years spending every dime they can raise on various lawsuits and complaints, rather than fighting for the rights of their members, and in the end, whatever remains will be confiscated and distributed to other causes that James and Cuomo consider “worthy.” While they might not be able to legally dissolve the Association, they most certainly are able to capture its focus and spending to keep it from effectively accomplishing its core missions, and wasting its money on worthless causes.

The NRA is more important than any one person or small group of people. It is stupid and corrupt for the Board of Directors to allow Wayne LaPierre and John Frazer, who are both cited for their roles in the misdeeds the NY lawsuit is based on, to select and supervise the attorneys responsible for defending the NRA in court. At a minimum, the Board of Directors should hire independent counsel with explicit instructions to defend the Association, not any officers, or employees. LaPierre, Frazer, and any other NRA officers, employees, or contractors, should not even have a hint of control or management of those attorneys or their conduct of the case.

As things stand, the NRA attorneys were hired and are controlled by Wayne LaPierre, and it is clear that they are treating LaPierre as their primary client, protecting him over the NRA membership, and sucking millions of dollars a month from member assets, in the process.

The lunatics are indeed in control of the asylum.

NRA Meeting to be Held in Springfield, MO?

 

Update: 09/16/2020: NRA subsequently shifted again, settling on a meeting in Tucson scheduled for October 24.  Registration for the meeting opened online at https://www.nraam.org/ on September 16.

(Past Update: 06/09/2020: NRA has a semi-official announcement of the location and date found here: NRA’s 149th Annual Meeting of Members rescheduled in Missouri)

NRA Board of Directors
NRA Board of Directors: NRA Meeting to be Held in Springfield, MO?

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- A letter sent out on NRA Whittington Center letterhead, indicates that, as I had predicted, the NRA Annual Meeting of Members will indeed be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled, September Board of Directors meeting. What is unexpected is the location discussed in the letter – Springfield, Missouri.

The Whittington Center is a beautiful range facility NRA built in New Mexico. The letter, dated May 28, 2020, told recipients that the NRA Annual Meeting, which had been put off due to COVID-19, has been scheduled for September 5. 2020, in Springfield, MO, with a Board of Directors meeting on the following Monday, the 7th, which happens to be Labor Day.

NRA Whittington Center Conflict Letter
NRA Whittington Center Conflict Letter

The main purpose of the letter was to explain that a previously scheduled event for the Whittington Center, is going to be rescheduled for early October, due to its original date conflicting with the new date for the NRA Annual Meeting.

No official announcements about the new meeting plans have come out of NRA HQ so far. There is nothing about the meetings on the NRA website and there has been nothing in the Official Journal, so consider this information a very solid rumor, rather than a confirmed fact.

Under the NRA Charter and Bylaws, a Members’ Meeting must be held every year before November 30. 2020.

There are also requirements regarding proper notice. Under the Bylaws, notice of the Members’ Meeting must be published in the Official Journal (the NRA business section inside each of the NRA’s magazines) in two consecutive editions prior to the meeting date. Since the lead time for the magazines is usually about 2 months, and the magazine dated for the next month usually comes out early in the month prior, that leaves NRA with few options for making the required announcements. This being the beginning of June, the July edition of the magazine would normally be hitting members’ mail boxes any day now. But it looks like some, and maybe all of the NRA magazines are combining July and August editions, with magazines going out in the third week of June. That narrows NRA’s window even more. If an official announcement about the meeting is not included in a regular July edition, then NRA could be in breach of their obligation under the bylaws if they don’t have announcements in the August and September issues. That would be cutting things mighty thin, and might not meet the legal requirement. We’ll find out soon.

In the meantime, I sent the following note to NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer on Tuesday, June 2:

John,

I’m sending this as an open letter and plan to publish it, along with your reply, if one is forthcoming in a timely fashion.

I saw the Whittington Center letter stating that the Annual Meeting of Members will be held in Springfield, MO on September 5, with a Board meeting following on the 7th.
Can you confirm that this information is correct?

If this information is correct, can you provide some more detail? For instance the venue, times, and information about any concurrent events?
I’d also be interested in any information you could provide me regarding the rationale for this choice of locations, as opposed to holding the meetings in Northern Virginia, close to NRA HQ and the support staff, and whether this choice originated with the Board or with staff, but I don’t want to bog you down with too many questions, so please share whatever you are able to.

I assume that more information will be forthcoming in the July or August edition of the Official Journal, but I would think that getting accurate information out to members as early as possible, would be in the best interest of the Association and its members.
I look forward to hearing from you.

In Liberty,
Jeff

I did get a quick reply back from Secretary Frazer asking me when I was hoping to publish. I responded that I wanted to go to press within a day or two, but have not heard anything since then. I held back publishing this article in hopes of a reply, but can’t wait any longer. If I do hear back from the NRA, I will add a note to this piece.

A friend checked with the Springfield, MO convention and visitors bureau and was told that no deal has been signed with the NRA yet, just a proposal. I also checked with some members of the NRA Board of Directors and they had no knowledge of the meeting being even tentatively scheduled.

It should be noted that the Bylaws stipulate that the Annual Meeting of Members shall be held “at such time and place as determined by the Board of Directors.” If I’m informing Directors of plans for a meeting in Springfield, MO, it’s a pretty safe bet those Directors didn’t participate in the decision to hold the meeting there. Just one more example of the Board allowing staff to lead them, rather than the other way around.

It’s also worth noting that the NRA has taken over the Shooting Illustrated Concealed Carry Expo, which happens to be being held in Dallas over the same weekend that they’re talking about holding the Members’ Meeting in Missouri. Seems like they’d get a better turnout and be able to do more special, fundraising side-events in conjunction with the Dallas event. Didn’t I read somewhere that money is an issue at NRA these days?

The news might change in a few days, but for now, I’ve started shopping for airline tickets and accommodations in Springfield, and I hope many of you will do the same. Just don’t do the non-refundable kind. While the members at an NRA Annual Meeting wield little direct power, we do potentially have enough power to influence the Board to take needed action. If possible, plan to be there for the Members’ Meeting on Saturday and stay through the Monday Board meeting. The Board is supposed to represent the members and the staff is supposed to follow the instructions of the Board. It’s past time for that mode to be put back in place. Get some friends together and plan a road trip, whether to Springfield, Dallas, or DC. Share travel and room costs. Participate in trying to save our Association.

Stay tuned to AmmoLand News and www.FirearmsCoalition.org for updates and other information.

New York Files Charges Against the NRA – More Charges on the Way

The first shoe has dropped in the legal assault on the NRA. The New York State Department of Financial Services has formally filed a Statement of Charges against the NRA for violating a variety of New York insurance laws, including producing and selling insurance without a license, selling unlawful insurance products, and “unfair and deceptive marketing materials” regarding their endorsed insurance products.

This is not just about NRA’s much-maligned Carry Guard program, which the Statement of Charges labels as an “unlawful insurance” product, but covers all of NRA’s insurance offerings. According to the Statement of Charges, NRA’s endorsement of, advertising for, and receipt of “royalties” for their various endorsed insurance products, constitutes “operating as an insurance producer without a license.”

In other words, they’re saying that the NRA was “engaging in the business” of producing and selling insurance without acquiring the necessary licenses.

The legal action is seeking monetary penalties against the NRA and the repercussions could go well beyond fines and future restrictions on their activities in New York. Insurance carriers that were working with the NRA have already reached settlements with New York enforcers, agreeing to pay over $13 million. Fines and penalties against the NRA could easily approach the $50 million mark.

The Statement of Charges (read below) also includes a Notice of Hearing, scheduled for April 6, 2020, just 10 days prior to the kickoff of the 2020 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Nashville, TN. Expect the NRA to try and delay that hearing until after the Meeting of Members, so they can tell the members who gather in Nashville that it’s all just political smoke and mirrors.

I have been predicting that the AG’s of New York and DC would hold off on filing charges until those filings would do the most possible damage to the Association’s efforts in the 2020 election. I’m sticking by that prediction, as I expect that this insurance matter will prove to be just the first of several actions brought by regulators in various jurisdictions.

Investigations into the NRA’s insurance programs are just the tip of the iceberg. Regulators are known to be looking into revocation of the NRA’s tax-exempt status, and the New York AG has threatened to revoke the Association’s charter and lock-up NRA’s finances – to protect the members. Those watching the case closely will recall that current and former members of the NRA Board of Directors, along with current and former NRA employees, have been deposed by investigators from New York – where the NRA is chartered – and legal experts have suggested that the lines of questioning suggest the AG’s office could be preparing to file criminal charges against some NRA employees and Directors for fraud, misappropriation of funds, self-dealing, and dereliction of fiduciary responsibility.

Wayne LaPierre
Wayne LaPierre

For their part, it appears that the NRA strategy is going to continue to revolve around a claim that NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, is the victim of a conspiracy, led by his long-time friends and allies at the PR firm Ackerman McQueen (AcMc). The claim is that LaPierre discovered some questionable billing and payment issues a few years ago and when he tried to right the ship with a “good governance” campaign, his friends at AcMc, along with their operatives on the Board and elsewhere in the Association, turned on him and launched a concerted campaign to smear him, trying to stage a coup against him.

Joshua Powell
Joshua Powell

Recent events, including the suspension and eventual termination of LaPierre’s Chief of Staff, Josh Powell, suggest that Powell, who LaPierre installed as Executive Director of General Operations and lead executive in charge of the Carry Guard program, will be painted as the primary culprit in the insurance matter. LaPierre will again claim that he discovered the problems and took “decisive action” to rectify them by suspending, investigating, and terminating Powell.

Of course, the major flaw in official NRA’s strategy, is that LaPierre has been the CEO of the NRA for nearly 30 years, with authority and responsibility for the oversight and operation of all facets of NRA operations.

Every person who has been in any way implicated in any of the scandals at the NRA has been closely associated with LaPierre, and in most cases they owed their positions and influence within the Association directly to LaPierre. So either Wayne LaPierre was aware of, and complicit in the various schemes and scandals, or he is the worst judge of character, and the most inept manager to ever run an organization. In either case, the responsibility lies with LaPierre and so should the consequences.

It is impossible to separate LaPierre from the actions of his subordinates, especially when those actions span decades under his watch, and especially when he has seen substantial personal and familial benefits from these actions.

There’s no question that the legal attacks on the NRA, from the expose’s from the Trace and the New Yorker, to the investigations by the New York and DC AG’s offices and the inquiries from various members of Congress, are all politically motivated. That’s been clear from the outset. But just because the impetus for the investigations was political, that doesn’t nullify the findings. The Trace reporter set out looking for dirt and he found it – lots of it – and he found documentation to back up the dirt he’d found. Similarly, the dirt that’s come out of the lawsuits involving Ackerman McQueen is tainted with various personal motives and has been couched in the most inflammatory terms imaginable, but the core issues revealed are serious and NRA members deserve serious answers, not just childish finger-pointing and name-calling.

NRA Lawyer William Brewer
NRA Lawyer William Brewer

As I said at the outset, these charges from the New York State Department of Financial Services, are just the tip of the iceberg, and more charges from other agencies will undoubtedly be forthcoming. Meanwhile, NRA members have been paying something in the neighborhood of $2 million per month for the past 2 years, for an attorney whose primary focus appears to be the protection of Wayne LaPierre, with little or no apparent concern for the NRA itself or its members.

NRA’s legal and financial troubles are just beginning. More will most assuredly be on the way. There’s a slight chance that the members might be able to affect some positive change at the NRA Members’ Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee on April 18 2020, so every NRA member who can make that meeting should try to be there. Attending the meeting is going to cost me something in the neighborhood of $1000.00 out of my pocket, but even a slight chance of saving our organization makes that expense worth it to me. I hope you’ll join me there and let your voice be heard.

You can read the Statement of Charges here.

New State’s Statement of Charges Against NRA February 2020

2020 NRA BoD Election, Jeff Knox Lists His Picks for Votes & NO Votes

Old NRA New NRA Maze
2020 NRA BoD Election, Jeff Knox Lists His Picks for Votes & NO Votes

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Each year I try to provide some guidance to NRA members wondering how to best utilize their votes in the election of members of the NRA Board of Directors. Usually, this entails calling for “bullet voting” for one or two good candidates in a sea of establishment “yes-people.” But this year is a bit different. Many of the problems that I’ve been reporting on and warning about for years, came to a head over the past year, proving that I was justified in my concerns, and demonstrating the serious dangers of having an overabundance of “yes-people” on the Board.

Thanks to a number of resignations from the Board over the past year, this year’s ballot involves 31 seats, rather than the 25 that are normally up for election. The Board is comprised of 75 3-year seats and one 1-year seat, for a total of 76, with 1/3 of the 3-year seats up for election by mail-in ballot each year, and the 76th seat elected by the members at the Annual Meeting.

The vast majority of the people listed on your ballot are current members of the Board running for reelection. That means that they are people who have either participated in, turned a blind eye toward, or been too distracted to notice the chicanery that’s been going on.

Of the “new” people on the ballot, only one is a true newcomer who wasn’t picked by the establishment to run. That is Frank Tait of Pennsylvania.

Frank who leaped into the spotlight at the Members’ Meeting in Indianapolis last year when he introduced a resolution calling for an accounting of the accusations of malfeasance and cronyism at members expense and called for a vote of “No Confidence” in Wayne LaPierre and members of the Executive, Audit, and Finance committees. The resolution was shut down in a parliamentary boondoggle, but Tait went on to launch a successful petition campaign to get his name on this year’s ballot.

Tait has since said some things that cause me some consternation, but I am standing by the endorsement I gave him during his petition drive.

The only other candidate to have been nominated by petition only is former Director John Cushman, who has served on the Board off and on for more than 20 years. I’m not sure what Cushman said or did to get himself rejected by the Nominating Committee after his long, loyal service, but I consider him to have been part of the problem, not part of the solution, so I am not endorsing him.

Of the other candidates nominated by the Nominating Committee, I see most of them as rubber-stamp candidates nominated to support LaPierre. One exception is Phillip Journey of Kansas. I’ve known Phil for many years and always found him to be a man of integrity and intellect, and I will be giving him a vote this year. I also like and respect Niger Innis of Nevada, with the hope that he will prove to be something of the man his father was. The final person I’m supporting in this category is James Wallace of Massachusetts. I worry that he might be too much of an insider, but I deeply respect the work he has done with the Gun Owners’ Action League deep behind enemy lines.

Along with the long-time Directors who I see as culpable in the NRA corruption, there are also several who are relatively new to the Board, having been elected in just the past couple of years. I’m giving several of them the benefit of the doubt and offering them my vote. This includes Anthony Colandro (Anthony is Endorsed by Ammoland News) of New Jersey, Mark Vaughn of Oklahoma, Mark Robinson of North Carolina, Robert Mansell of Arizona, Kevin Hogan of Illinois, and Paul Babaz of Georgia.

While there are a few Directors who have quietly expressed support for reform within the Association, “quietly” is the operative word, and I can’t in good conscience offer them my support.

There are also some candidates on the ballot who have been very active in defending LaPierre and helping to shut down dissent on the Board, with First Vice President Charles Cotton being one of their leaders.

NRA members can send a loud message to the Board and the powers that be, by rejecting Mr. Cotton’s bid for reelection, along with the bids of past presidents, Ron Schmeitz and Alan Cors. (Read Do NOT Vote for.)

The NRA is in deep trouble. I honestly expect indictments and financial sanctions to be coming down very soon from investigations being conducted by the New York and DC attorneys general and other agencies. All of these troubles tie directly back to Wayne LaPierre and the NRA Directors who allowed him to abuse his power so egregiously. If the Association can be saved, it’s going to require Directors willing to make hard decisions and stand firmly on principles. This ballot doesn’t offer a lot of hope for that, but we must do what we can with what we’ve got.

Candidates I Support:

  • Frank Tait of Pennsylvania
  • Phillip Journey of Kansas
  • Niger Innis of Nevada
  • James Wallace of Massachusetts
  • Anthony Colandro of New Jersey
  • Mark Vaughn of Oklahoma
  • Mark Robinson of North Carolina
  • Robert Mansell of Arizona
  • Kevin Hogan of Illinois
  • Paul Babaz of Georgia

Candidates I Oppose:

  • Charles Cotton of Texas
  • Ron Schmeitz of New Mexico
  • Alan Cors of Virginia

    In other NRA News, New York State Files Charges Against NRA related to Insurance Violations:

    The New York Department of Financial Services has filed a Statement of Charges against the NRA for “defined violations of insurance law,” and set a hearing date of April 6, 2020, just 10 days before the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits.

    Note that this Statement of Charges only deals with insurance matters, not all of the other issues that have been being raised about the organization.

    I expect that this is only the first of several legal challenges that will be brought over the next several months.

    I’ll have more about this soon. In the meantime, you can read the Statement of Charges here.

    New State’s Statement of Charges Against NRA February 2020