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This is Probably the Ack-Mac Contingent Following Up on Their Threat

Wayne’s extravagance is the new story in the media after the Board members who had dealings with the PR firm were ousted. I don’t feel sorry for Wayne. He invited this on himself by doing stuff like this in the first place. Why were expenses being funneled through Ack-Mac? I can’t see any legit reason for that other than keeping them off NRA’s books. Lie with dogs and don’t be surprised when you get fleas.

But my overriding goal is getting through New York State’s assault on the NRA and excising the parasite PR firm. Everything else is small potatoes. If Wayne wants to say ten Hail Marys and agree to sin no more that’s fine. If Letitia James wants to remove him for his sins, the organization will go on. The great irony in that would be that she’d probably save us a lot of needless infighting. But the most important thing is that the organization go on.

47 Responses to “This is Probably the Ack-Mac Contingent Following Up on Their Threat”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    The graveyards are full of indispensable men.

  2. When it comes to the leader of the NRA, I don’t care how rich s/he is, just that s/he can win. The “commongunsense” lady used to make a big deal about how Wayne Pierre makes over a million dollars a year. And my response was … “so what? That’s about 25 cents per member, and the NRA is winning on most fronts right now. Hell — I’d pay 50 cents or a dollar to keep him winning.”

    Which is also how I can vote for a jerk (insert other bad words that apply) as President of the United States if he supports the causes and policies I support; I’m not electing him to be my moral leader, just to make good things happen.

    • Charlie Foxtrot says:

      The previous post on this blog mentioned NYSRPA’s case at the Supreme Court. That lawsuit is financially supported by the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. The NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund spends less money per year on 2A lawsuits than Wayne LaPierre gets from the NRA in compensation per year. The NRA’s priorities are pretty clear. It is rather sad that many NRA members have been blinded by propaganda and support this scam.

    • 6.5-06 says:

      “Which is also how I can vote for a jerk (insert other bad words that apply) as President of the United States if he supports the causes and policies I support…”

      My opinion is, that is terribly short-sighted. He has energized and emboldened our enemies as much as he has energized and emboldened the boneheads and neo-Nazis who love him to death while doing nothing to help us. Speaking of which, by association we are now linked to boneheads in the public psyche. Accomplishing that did more toward creating a knee-jerk negative stereotype for gun owners than the MSM had been able to accomplish in 50 years. If you think our long term fortunes don’t depend as much on “public image” as on court decisions (or that court decisions are independent of the public image of the plaintiffs or defendants), well, you are just terribly short-sighted.

      In my opinion, my respectful two cents.

      • Miles says:

        So then, you would have preferred Hillary, especially in her role of appointing judges and justices to the federal courts.?.

        AYSM?
        Come-on.

      • I doubt he did that much damage to gun owners’ image. It was already made as the media could. And two Supreme Court justices and likely another one soon is worth a lot.

        Note that record low unemployment is making Democrats say stupid things, like Pelosi’s claim that low unemployment is less important than health insurance (which was not changed by Bad Orange Man) and Occasional-Cortex insisting that this was because people were now working three jobs.

      • Will says:

        “He has energized and emboldened our enemies as much as he has energized and emboldened the boneheads and neo-Nazis who love him to death while doing nothing to help us.”

        This “Loyal Opposition” thinking is why the GOP has accomplished NOTHING for generations, besides allowing things to slide toward the bad side of politics.

        Much as I hate admitting it, purity in politics is a non-starter. It gets you nowhere but closer to the boxcars. That’s the reality of human interactions. You play the game, or you AUTOMATICALLY lose.

      • 6.5-06 says:

        Miles, Clayton, and Will:

        The NRA is never specific about its membership numbers, but judging from the financials reported, i.e., income from memberships, which I haven’t heard anyone dispute (tell me if they have), it would appear the equivalent of approximately a million members’ dues failed to come through in the past year. (Please, correct me if any part of that is substantially wrong). Not all of those were lost because they didn’t like Nasty Dana’s tone on NRATV. If losing membership in a large national organization isn’t a barometer of motivated public opinion, I’m not sure what is.

        When faced with two horrible choices, we individually may want to choose one over the other, based on our own logic and reasons, but for a large organization to jump on the bandwagon for either bad choice is insanity. Sometimes the greatest relevance – or maintaining any relevance at all – can come from not participating in making a bad choice.

        I would argue that the Democrats have suffered almost as badly for having chosen Hillary in 2016, as the NRA is suffering for having jumped on the Trump bandwagon. The Democrats’ choice has empowered their radicals while offending and fracturing their base.

      • 42 says:

        I thought the NRA only endorsed Trump after he won the nomination.

        That was obviously the right thing to do, given he is sort of pro-gun and Hillary is a raging gun hater, who would have overturned Heller.

  3. Jay says:

    Leaders of non-profits who live and act extravagantly off of membership dues and charitable donations have a negative effect on the rank and file, cause less volunteering, bad press, bad “optics” all around.

    It’s also not right to give Wayne LaPierre all this credit for the legal “wins” especially since the 2 key wins in the past 10 years were basically Alan Gura, SAF and co. Many believe that NRA tried to get in Gura’s way, when they should have called and asked him “how much money do you need to litigate this” all because they didn’t want to risk an adverse outcome.

    I’m still hanging onto my life membership, but Wayne needs to go, and they need to maybe try not to pick someone polarizing like North for President. Oh, and abolish the “job for life” position of Executive VP.

    • beatbox says:

      Exactly. They tried to stop Heller to maintain the status quo and then tried to jump in it to claim credit when it became a real opportunity.

    • Alpheus says:

      I have mixed feelings about high pay for people in non-profits. On the one hand, I would like to see the best person we could afford for the position in question. This leads to two questions about Wayne:

      Is the salary we’re paying him *really* needed to convince him to continue in his position?

      Is Wayne worth the amount we’re currently paying him?

      Only Wayne could answer the first question, to be sure, but the second question can only be answered by the remainder of the NRA. If Wayne isn’t worth what we’re paying him for, and if we can find someone better (whether cheaper or more expensive), then it’s time to have him leave.

      I’m far more disturbed by how much he’s locked into the position as a “job for life” position than I am of how much he’s being payed. By being locked into the position, it means that it’s going to be far more difficult to get rid of him if he isn’t worth the salary he’s willing to work for.

      And I, for one, think it’s probably time for him to step down too. Ideally I’d like to see who would replace him first, but as it stands, I’m not thrilled with where the NRA is at this time, and I’m convinced Wayne is the reason why the NRA is where it is.

    • To be fair, at the time the Heller case started, there was real risk it would turn out bad.

  4. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    “I can’t see any legit reason for that other than keeping them off NRA’s books.”

    I don’t think that is a legit reason, especially for a nonprofit!

    My fear is that Wayne LaPierre will hold on as long as he can and take the organization down with him. There is also the issue of financial liabilities that may require the NRA to go through bankruptcy. The only thing that Wayne LaPierre has going for him is the upcoming 2020 election. This could generate enough funds for the NRA to survive.

  5. Richard says:

    I can’t say I especially approve but the total compensation including expense accounts are within the normal range for big non-profits.

    • Charlie Foxtrot says:

      That is highly incorrect. Wayne LaPierre is the 8th highest paid nonprofit CEO in the US. Only 23 nonprofit organizations in the US regularly pay over $1,000,000 for their CEO. Source: https://www.charitywatch.org/top-charity-salaries

      • Richard says:

        Seems like he is in a big cluster of comp packages with other non-profits.

        I get that you don’t like what he does but if he is effective then it is worth it. The NRA has routinely been considered one of the most effective of the non-economic lobbies, often rated as #1. This, in spite of nearly universal media negativity and all the money of Bloomberg and the other oligarchs.

        • Charlie Foxtrot says:

          The #7 is the CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which had an annual revenue of $1.5B and net assets of 1.5B in 2017. In comparison, the NRA had an annual revenue of only $312M and net assets of only $25M in 2017. Wayne LaPierre is overpaid!

          The NRA lost $63M in 2016 and 2017 by spending more than it has. This does NOT include the recent losses due to legal fees stemming from its own incompetence and corruption. Wayne LaPierre is not being held accountable!

          The NRA is mostly, if not totally, ineffective in terms of lobbying at the state and federal level. It is effective in taking credit for the work of others, though. Ask any state’s gun rights organization.

          The NRA spends more on Wayne LaPierre’s compensation than on 2A lawsuits! The NRA did spent $40M on Ackerman McQueen in 2017 (12% of its total expenditures), which is more that 40-times of what it spent on 2A lawsuits.

          The NRA was good in only one thing, propaganda. That was thanks to Ackerman McQueen. That is no more.

          • Richard says:

            So why do the other lobbyists and governmental types think that the NRA is the top lobbyist in terms of effectiveness?

            • Charlie Foxtrot says:

              What’s your source for this statement? The NRA spends on lobbying as much as Planned Parenthood does, which is a rather small amount. Big Pharma are the big dogs in lobbying.

              In terms of lobbying for gun rights, my source for the opposite would be former Senator Harry Reid: “Sen. Reid: NRA Is ‘Very Bad’ – Gun Owners of America ‘Worse Than Bad’” at https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/eric-scheiner/sen-reid-nra-very-bad-gun-owners-america-worse-bad. Now, realize that the annual revenue of the Gun Owners of America is 100 TIMES less than that of the NRA.

              Now, effectiveness of a lobbying organization is measured by actions and not by words. What has the NRA actually accomplished (that it can actually claim and not that was a victory of another organization)? In many cases, the NRA claims the victories of other organizations or claims things that aren’t even victories.

              Here is an example: Thanks in part to the NRA, the Republican-dominated Tennessee legislature just passed yet another piece of useless law that creates a secondary carry permit. It has even more restrictions than the existing one, is only slightly less expensive and only includes online training.

              This new permit creates a lot of confusion and risk for accidentally becoming a law breaker. It is important to note that it makes the TN code inconsistent in many areas, meaning a person reading the law can misinterpret it and accidentally violate it. This permit was originally supposed to be free, not anymore. The fact that it relies on online training, which hasn’t been codified, creates the risk that TN loses reciprocity with more states.

              There was simply no need for this permit, but I did get the NRA’s e-mails that I should support it and call my representative. Tennessee has a good chance to become the next constitutional carry state, after our neighbor, Kentucky. However, the NRA is, once again, working against us.

              More details: https://tennesseefirearms.com/2019/05/legislature-adjourns-after-passage-of-bad-legislation-and-refusal-to-consider-constitutional-carry/

              I already mentioned in this blog the NRA’s dirty hands in the Guns In Parks disaster in TN in the past: https://tennesseefirearms.com/2017/01/nras-lawsuit-against-the-city-of-knoxville-over-chilhowee-park-ban-settled-not-good-for-gun-owners/

            • 399 says:

              The same reason B’r’er Rabbit said he didn’t want to get throwed in dat briar patch.

            • Scott in Phx says:

              Partly because it used to be – because gun owners do vote and do lobby their congress critters – and MOSTLY because the media has turned the NRA into the big bad boogyman.

      • Countertop says:

        Charlie Foxtrot

        Charity swatch is looking at 501(c)(3)s. The bulk of what you expect the NRA to do isn’t allowed as a (c)(3). That happens under A different arm (I assume ILA is either a (c)(4) or a (c)(6)).

        I can name 50 non profits (aka trade associations) in DC that pay their CEO as much or more than Wayne LaPierre. And that’s just off the top of my head without having to delve into 990s.

        Remember, while it’s technically a Non profit. The NRA isn’t a charity. It’s an advocacy organization.

        • Charlie Foxtrot says:

          Let’s be clear, the NRA is a 501(c)(4), so Charity Watch is looking at 501(c)(4) organizations. Charity Watch is certainly not comprehensive, though. It actually misses a lot of 501(c)(3) organizations, including trade associations, but then, they are not charities.

          In any case, I am not OK with a supposed civil rights organization spending over $1M per year on its CEO and scaring the poor in the country into paying for it. There is a difference between a civil rights organization and a trade association representing business interests, you know.

          If this is about paying Wayne LaPierre a competitive salary, LOL. Wayne LaPierre practically owns the NRA (in terms of decision making) and there is no open competition for his job. He could not get a different job either if he wanted to. Salary should be based on performance. With the NRA, it is certainly not.

          Lastly, again, the NRA spends more on Wayne LaPierre’s salary than on 2A lawsuits.

          • Richard says:

            The “NRA” is both a 501c3 and a 501c4 and probably some other things as well. In other words, they have split their organization up to comply with the tax codes and other laws like campaign finance.

            • Charlie Foxtrot says:

              The main NRA organization, under which Wayne LaPierre is being paid, is a 501(c)(4). That’s what the NRA’s 990 tax form states: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5300476-NRA-2017-990.html.

              The NRA has other associated organizations, such as the ILA PVF or the CRDF, that are operated under a different tax code with a significantly smaller budget. The NRA’s money machine is the main organization, a 501(c)(4).

              There was a recent discussion within the NRA to completely or partially drop the tax exempt status to hide its financial dealings even more. I assume that this discussion was triggered by the impending separation from Ackerman McQueen. Without Ackerman McQueen as a vendor, the NRA can no longer hide tens-of-millions of Dollars in expenses.

  6. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    Thanks to the NRA’s lack of transparency, the narrative will be driven by Ack-Mac and others through leaks. It will be very difficult to separate out fact from fiction. Is the NRA really paying its attorney William Brewer $1,500,000 PER MONTH in this litigation (source: https://www.vox.com/2019/4/30/18510946/nra-finances-lapierre-north-accusations-corruption)? William Brewer is an in-law of McQueen.

    • rd says:

      The only thing more expensive than a good lawyer is a bad lawyer. A bad lawyer can cost you everything including your freedom.

      How much do you think New York State is spending to destroy the NRA?

      • Charlie Foxtrot says:

        $1,500,000 PER MONTH sounds excessive, if not outright corrupt. If this number is true something really stinks. For comparison, George Zimmerman’s entire defense did cost $2,500,000. That is for two attorneys for over a year and for witness costs (transportation, hotel, and per diem).

        $1,500,000 PER MONTH will roughly pay for 40 full-time people (well-paid lawyers and paralegals) in the private sector and for 50 full-time people in the public sector (e.g., at the New York State Attorney’s Office). No, New York State is not having 50 people on this case. LOL.

        Now, this number may come from Ackerman McQueen and may be wrong. It may also be true, as the NRA has been subpoenaed for financial documents. Thanks to the lack of transparency asserted by the NRA leadership, we, NRA members, don’t know what is going on.

        We are supposed to donate to the NRA to pay for this, not knowing what the NRA has gotten itself into? All I know is that current donations can very well end up funding the defense of criminal actions by the NRA leadership and its cronies.

        Note that this litigation started over NRA’s Carry Guard insurance, which was totally avoidable. Ackerman McQueen ran this insurance (underwritten by Lockton) with unbelievable incompetence in the name of the NRA. This case also created additional harm to the USCCA.

        • Sebastian says:

          The source of that was unnamed sources from The Trace. I’ve seen no other substantiation of that allegation.

        • Countertop says:

          1.5 million a month seems excessive, but in the short term while engaged in documentary discovery related to a major trial and/or tax audit, isn’t outside the realm of possibility (and to be sure, the discovery here is far far far far more complex than what was involved in Zimmerman’s case).

          Of course, those individual legal bills – at least the details of them – are almost assuredly not being released in their entirety as they would be protected by the attorney client privilege. What is more likely to be released is a line item for legal expenditures. If they were paying the law firm $18 million (aka 1.5 million a month) a year in legal fees – that too strikes me as excessive – but again not outside the realm of reason (considering we have no idea what they are getting for that money). Especially if they have a ton of stuff going on (or are involved in complex discovery or litigation).

  7. Mike Q says:

    Such an obvious political hit piece more is said by what is unsaid than by what is said. It only says that the travel lacks documentation, not that it was illegitimate. It also doesn’t say how long it took to rack up that $240,000. He’s been in this job for more than 25 years that could represent less than $10,000 per year. It bears some looking into but considering what his job is and how much travel it involves this doesn’t seem like all that much money.

    • Sebastian says:

      Why wait, when we can jump to conclusions now?

    • countertop says:

      What Mike Q said.

    • Charlie Foxtrot says:

      Well the NRA clearly has business in Italy, Hungary, and the Bahamas. LOL.

      The problem with all these allegations is the NRA’s own secrecy and lack of transparency, as well as a general loss of trust by NRA members. These allegations and a no confidence resolution by NRA members was referred to the NRA board’s ethics committee, but only after the dust up at the NRA members meeting. Without trust, people will jump to conclusions, and they may actually be right about them.

      • Richard says:

        Don’t know about the Bahamas but the NRA clearly should have interests in Italy and Hungary which have governments more friendly to our interests than most of Europe. The gun ban movement is international and it is useful to take the battle to them.

        As for trust in the NRA speak for yourself. I am agnostic on WLP and willing to let it play out but the organization is critical to maintaining our rights. There has always been a fringe for whom the NRA is not radical enough. But look who our enemies rail against. It is always the NRA, with hardly a mention of the other players on our side.

        • Charlie Foxtrot says:

          Well, I didn’t pay for my NRA Life Membership and donated to the NRA, so that Wayne LaPierre can go on international travel that are likely nothing more than tourist trips. At the same time, the NRA isn’t doing the job it is supposed to do. Again, it’s secrecy and a lack of transparency. Where is the NRA’s report on outreach to Italy, Hungary, and the Bahamas? What was the intended purpose of these trips? How much money was actually spent on these trips? Why are travel costs by the NRA leadership routed through a for-profit company?

          It has been playing out for decades and the results are in. The NRA is ineffective in fighting for our rights. It is very effective in fund raising and spending money as fast and as much as possible. The boogeyman is, once again, used to defend indefensible actions by the NRA leadership. The reaction by NRA members was rather swift. The NRA’s financials are collapsing.

          There has always been a fringe for whom the NRA can not do anything wrong and shall not be criticized. That fringe is responsible for the NRA’s ineffectiveness. It will also be responsible for the NRA’s death. Without a change in leadership and bylaws, the NRA will die.

          • Mike Q says:

            I have no problem with some money going missing. Lobbying is dirty business and palms need to be greased and arms need to be twisted. It’s unsavory, often walks in legal grey areas, and is probably best kept on the down low. It’s how stuff gets done and the NRA is good at it.

  8. 53 says:

    So, will this mean the board actually might get rid of the AckMac parasites?

  9. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    A gift that just keeps on giving: An Internal Memo Raises New Questions About Self-Dealing at the N.R.A. | The New Yorker at https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/an-internal-memo-raises-new-questions-about-self-dealing-at-the-nra

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