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Interesting Article in Non-Profit Quarterly

From the story:

In the NRA’s story, we can see reflections of some of the patterns exhibited at the Wounded Warrior Project. Success, public support, and leadership excesses offended donors and created a backlash that eventually ended in a nearly clean sweep of leadership, but not before it suffered deep and long-lasting damage to its donor base. Like Wounded Warrior, the NRA is conducting an internal investigation and trying to offload responsibility for the scandal onto what it characterizes as organizational “haters.”

There does seem to be a parallel, except for the Board’s unwillingness to jettison Wayne. Someone asked in the comments what the proper means of redress was, which I think is a fair question.

Really, you need to win elections. When you try to upend the status quo and fail, in an organization like NRA, you need to put people on the Board who back your position. For me that goes back to an earlier post I did talking about how NRA needs a sensible reform movement.

Winning elections is hard, and NRA’s Board is huge. But it’s not impossible to win an election by petition, especially if the membership is angry and wants change, and the alternative is palatable.

From my point of view, the current backlash against Wayne looks to be instigated because he stopped toeing the line vis-a-vis NRA’s PR firm. I will readily concede that probably happened because the NRA ran out of Danegeld, and not because Wayne suddenly had a crisis of conscience.

Maybe that’s all carefully orchestrated kabuki theather, and I’m a dupe. I’m sure many of you believe that. But that’s how it looks to me. I think the focus on payments to Brewer’s firm is because he’s sucking up money that could be used to buy more shitty YouTube videos no one watches. Is he sucking up too much money? I’m open to the answer being “yes.”

I would follow a movement to reform NRA that distanced itself from North and a lot of these other players I don’t trust. I don’t know Allen West. I have met Tim Knight before, and he seemed like a straight player. But we need more of that.

6 Responses to “Interesting Article in Non-Profit Quarterly”

  1. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    Given that 51 out of the 76 Board members are required to make any significant change in the organization, you only have 49 Board members to go to make that happen. That is assuming that none of the new 49 Board members change their stance or take no stance at all. We already have a bunch of those today (Todd Rathner, Carrie Lightfoot, Julie Golob, etc.).

    Good luck with nominating by petition and electing 49+ Board members. This is exactly the reason why the NRA Board has 76 members and why nominations by petition have been made harder every year. Hoping that different Board members change the game is nonsensical.

    Meanwhile, some of the NRA’s current Officers and past Presidents have made a statement that just continues to destroy the NRA from within (see the statement posted by Todd Rathner). NRA members will vote with their feet and their wallet.

    • Sebastian says:

      I get that it’s hard. But it’s what has to be done. You probably don’t have to replace them all. Get a few reformers on the Board, and many others will fall in line if that’s the way they feel the wind is blowing. It is possible for the membership to change NRA if the membership really wants that. The problem reformers are facing is that the membership doesn’t want the reform they are selling.

      • aerodawg says:

        My reading of things is that larger governing bodies are typically specifically intended to stop any major changes. A couple of studies of corporate boards and other such entities found that the optimum size for decision making and governance, no matter the organization size, was 5-7 people and every person over that number eroded decision making effectiveness in the range of 8-10%. What does that say about a board of 76 people? Its like having a meeting at work with 50 people in the room, nothing ever gets done because the interpersonal politics takes over…..

  2. Chris says:

    With the recent bylaws changes, substantial changes to the BoD on the scale needed to force a house-cleaning are not realistic. Wayne has made it clear he’s not going anywhere and is going to ride this one into the dirt.

    The other way change can occur is when regulating agencies burn down the NRA. A civil suit can then be filed to try to recover some assets on behalf of the members from the officers & board members who abused their positions for personal enrichment (of course, the attorneys will take a third of what’s left).

    Then we hope something can be salvaged from the corpse when the NY AG, IRS, and lawyers are done having their way with it, or we hope that enough directors panic when they come under the gun and that enables significant change.

    Luckily, if you look at the NRA budget, the amount of money needed to keep the core community-building efforts (education/training, competition, and range support) is pretty trivial. Any company other than Ack-Mack could produce American Rifleman at pretty nominal cost as well. So long as the intellectual property and copyrights can be rapidly transferred to a new corporate entity, and there’s some relatively small amount of cash available, then you can do a reboot and ensure minimal disruption in the things that keep “gun culture” alive — range support, insurance for clubs, training, and matches.

    Frankly I think it would be quite smart for some pro-2A folks to have a shell corporate entity already set up in a firearms-friendly state. This shell organization should have a BoD with members from well-respected pro-2A teams such as SAF, some of the larger and more effective state organizations (IGOLD? VCDL? CALGUNS?), some of the larger shooting sports (CMP, USPSA, existing NRA disciplines, Olympic team), and industry. There should be a spring-loaded relationship with Lockton that allows the new shell to take over the NRA Range & Instructor insurance program so that clubs don’t get closed for lack of insurance. The shell would then be ready to take over the essential functions of NRA on short notice — basically let it be something that NRA’s key intellectual property, key staffers, and key programs can jump to once the existing corporate entity gets burned down by the government.

    I think there’s a not-insignificant probability that the current NRA corporate entity is toast. Whether it be the NY AG, a hostile IRS (Trump won’t be POTUS forever), or simple bankruptcy from obscene spending, I can easily imagine a collapse in the near to mid term. It’d be prudent to have an entity waiting in the wings that can pick up the key pieces as quickly as possible.

    • Sebastian says:

      It’s realistic if enough members are pissed off. All the recent bylaw changes did was make it harder for someone to mount a vanity run for the Board. People like Kraut and others have still made it onto the ballot even under the new rules. As I said above, the problem is the membership isn’t buying the reform they are selling.

  3. Rwilson452 says:

    It would be better if the NRA was registered in a state that has more protective corporate laws. I know a lot of big buck corporations claim DE as their “home” I think TX is another one. NY being one of the worst.I have no idea what this would take. I’m not a lawyer.

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