Can Board Members Speak for NRA?

For folks who don’t know much about how NRA works internally, I can probably explain this Politics Daily article, and also what’s appearing over at Bucks Right. NRA’s internal board rules (which are set by the Board itself, as an elected body) prevent Board members from speaking on behalf of the organization. This is longstanding practice by the Board, and not something new. This rule exists because everyone recognizes that NRA must be able to speak with a single voice on issues. NRA would not be able to function if each individual Board member could speak out on positions on behalf of the organization as a whole. One can imagine what that would be like, if, say, Joaquin Jackson thought it was OK to speak on NRA’s behalf.

During the Sotomayor hearings, there was confusion among Senators about NRA’s position, despite efforts by Board members speaking out against Sotomayor that they spoke for themselves and not in any official capacity with NRA. I am not privy to what goes on in executive session during committee meetings, so I really don’t know what happened. I am sure, just like with any family dispute, there were issues and sore feelings over how the Sotomayor thing went down. But I am also sure there were no gag orders. The Board does not take orders from staff. Things just don’t work that way.

6 thoughts on “Can Board Members Speak for NRA?”

  1. Sebastian, you’re conflating what Mr Erickson alleges with what you can defend.

    RedState never contended that board members were prohibited from speaking for the NRA, but rather that they were prohibited from speaking at all.

    Now, I agree with you that the NRA must speak with a single voice ….. why haven’t they?

    Witness part of GAO’s statement:

    On July 14 of last year, Sotomayor was asked by Sen. Pat Leahy during the confirmation hearings:

    “Is it safe to say that you accept the Supreme Court’s Decision [in Heller] as establishing that the Second Amendment right is an individual right? Is that correct?”

    Sotomayor responded: “Yes, Sir.” In other words, she affirmed with her response that the right to keep and bear arms was a fundamental, individual right.

    But then contrast this to the Chicago case where Sotomayor joined the dissent in stating:

    “I can find nothing in the Second Amendment’s text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as ‘fundamental’ insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes.”

    Wow …. Sotomayor lied. Can we expect Kagan to do differently?

    What can Kagan say at this point that will make her a champion of 2A rights?

    And if the answer to that is “nothing”, then why has the NRA not come out forcefully against her cnfirmation?

  2. There can be no doubt that Sandy and the other Board members who vocally opposed Sotomayor did so only after running into a brick wall at NRA HQ. They also made it clear that they were speaking as individuals or as representatives of other groups when they voiced their objections. There was no “confusion” on Capitol Hill as to who was representing NRA. The letter in question included calls for NRA to join their opposition.
    The assertion by some that the problem is Chris Cox is also inaccurate. Cox is part of the problem, but the problem is much bigger than just him. Chris does nothing – especially nothing as bold as the position on DISCLOSE and this “Gag Order” business without Wayne LaPierre’s direct involvement.
    I have been trying to get straight answers on both these issues from staff and Directors and I have yet to get satisfactory answers. Circling the wagons to defend against “outside attacks” is not a reasonable response. Directors owe their loyalty and their allegiance to NRA members, not staff.
    The DISCLOSE deal is likely to blow up in their faces and their lack of resolve in opposing patently anti-rights nominees to the Supreme Court and other key positions is just inexcusable. Kagan is a leftist ideologue and unfit to sit on the bench. NRA should be demanding her rejection.

  3. Jeff:

    I watched the Sotomayor nomination hearings, and I specifically recall Sandy having to clarify in front of the panel, after I believe a Senator expressed confusion about NRA’s position, that she was there on her own accord, and not on behalf of NRA.

  4. You make my point.
    She clarified her position and removed any possible confusion.
    I do not recall the details of that testimony, but I would bet that the request for clarification (feigned confusion) was a political maneuver to weaken her testimony by demonstrating that she was there sans portfolio.
    I’m sure that she and her cohorts were not too delicately reminded about what happened to Neal Knox when he testified out of turn back in the ’80s. Perhaps that is what was later construed as a “gag order.”

    1. The fact that the position had to be clarified multiple times proves the point that the result was Senators believing that she was representing NRA.

      And considering that it was the Republicans who were confused, your theory is rather short on evidence.

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