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Departures

Angus McQueen has died, Angus’s death really is the end of an era for NRA. I’ve always been of the opinion that NRA’s relationship with Ack-Mac had become an unhealthy one, but it’s hard to argue they didn’t have a huge impact on the organization and the direction. This is the end of an era, for sure. And should be a caution to Wayne’s apparent sense of indispensability: the cemeteries are filled with indispensable men, and Angus wasn’t much older than Wayne. The Board needs to be thinking about the future now. Not allowing it to be sacrificed so Wayne can bitterly cling on for a few more years.

I expected that ILA would have a brain drain when Chris was pushed out, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Jennifer Baker has left NRA. Keeping in mind I haven’t really been talking to NRA people for several years now, so my first-hand experience is dated, but people who worked under Chris always seemed happier than people in other NRA divisions. I usually will take that to mean the boss is well-liked if I see it in an organization. No organization is perfect, but ILA always seemed to me to be pretty well run.

Can NRA Be Saved Without Being Destroyed?

Miguel asks a poignant question: “Can LaPierre be removed without destrying the NRA from the inside? Apparently nobody cares.”

For me pushing out Chris Cox and the committee purges that seem to be reaching well beyond the supposed Ack-Mac lead conspiracy is were where I part ways with the Wayne supporting crowd. But I do not think Wayne is a dictator, and I think change is possible from within if enough people can be convinced. I also do back Wayne to the extent that he’s really committed to righting the ship and not just covering up past misdeeds. But I do not view the late actions to be of righting the ship but instead vengeance.

We were told Ack-Mac lead an attempt to take over NRA. But how many of the Board members being removed from key committees have ties to Ack-Mac? Why is Julie Golob, who apparently does have ties to Ack-Mac, still retaining her committee assignments? We’ve also heard in Ollie North’s response to NRA’s lawsuit the allegation that Wayne not only knew about North’s contract with Ack-Mac, but helped arrange it.

LaPierre helped negotiate that contract and signed off on the contract in May 2018. Indeed, it was LaPierre who encouraged and authorized North to be hired by Ackerman McQueen to work on the NRATV show “American Heroes,” and it was LaPierre who at the same time urged North to accept the role as President of the NRA. LaPierre urged and convinced North to leave his job at Fox News to take on these assignments for the NRA.

Also denied is that there was ever any ultimatum. That’s a bombshell if true. This is going to be the lawsuit to keep an eye on for NRA watchers. It’s where all the dirty laundry is going to come out.

I get being on a non-profit Board because I’ve done it a few times. I get having to deal with keeping a ship sailing in a productive direction while everyone is at each other’s throats. But to me, retaliating against other Board members in the way Wayne is doing has to have a pretty dire justification. Preserving your own hide is not one of them. In my view, a board has several overriding priorities, but I would argue two are of top importance:

  • Keep thieves away from money.
  • Compliance with the rules and regulations that govern the industry in which you operate. I’m not talking about the arcane stuff here like installing the wrong kind of light bulb, or redoing a cafeteria without the right permit, but the major stuff where everyone knows and understands violations can cost the organization gravely and risk its mission.

So show me that the Board members being retaliated against are OK with robbing the Association or flagrantly ignoring the law. Maybe you can justify some. But maybe it’s also that they just didn’t pass the test of being sufficiently loyal to the regime.

And what pisses me off is we’re just getting fluff from Wayne boosters. As I’ve said numerous times, no matter what you think about Wayne, he is 70 years old. He is not the future of the NRA, because generously, he has maybe a 5-10 of working life left in him before he’s either spent from old age or kicks it. This looks to me like something struggling to hold on to power and destroying the future to accomplish that. And for what? That’s the question I can’t seem to find answers for.

Big NRA Donors Outed by New York Times

I always figured the NY and now DC Attorney General’s fishing expedition was partly to get a list of big NRA donors and accidentally leak them to the press so they could be hunted down and shamed by online mobs. That shoe has seemingly begun to drop, with a New York Times article outing big donors.

They name several people, not just the dead guy. I believe this is intended to intimidate people out of donating large sums to the NRA. The article notes that grassroots support for NRA is waning. I’d note that my support for NRA is not waning. My support for Wayne is. There’s a substantial difference between those two things.

This just might be the sensible reform movement I’ve been looking for. It’s not tremendously ambitious, but that’s probably smart. I also don’t see they are rallying around a cult of personality, which is also a good thing. Stick to the issues, and don’t mix it with hardline bullshit a lot of people aren’t going to agree with.

Chris Cox Starts Own Consulting Firm

I’ve said for a while, most of the ILA folks can make better money somewhere else, and it’s not looking to me like Chris Cox is planning on leading any kind of revolution but rather making better money somewhere else. This is basically what James Baker did when he left ILA, and he made a lot of money doing it. Of course Baker came back, but I wouldn’t count on that here. John Richardson is covering the purges.

I understand that Jason Ouimet, Chris’ replacement, is well liked and considered a good choice to lead ILA. I’m sure I’ve probably met him but I don’t know him. He will have big shoes to fill, and I wish him luck.

I am still lacking in optimism for the future of the RKBA cause. We’re pretty much now dependent on the courts to save us long term, and I’m not sure they are really willing. Any state where Dems have a shot at control is not a safe state at this point.

Maybe this is the Sensible Reform Movement I’ve Been Looking For

It’s the NYT, so you might need a clean browser to view, but the story is about how David Dell’Aquila is organizing donors to withhold donations from NRA if Wayne does not step down and put an end to this mess.

“Even if these allegations regarding Mr. LaPierre and his leadership are false, he has become radioactive and must step down.”

I think that has unfortunately become true.

He said he was among a network of wealthy N.R.A. donors who would cumulatively withhold more than $134 million in pledges, much of it earmarked years in advance through estate planning, and would soon give the gun group’s board a list of demands for reform.

That’s not minor money. That kind of money is going to talk, loudly. Party line, mentioned in the article, is that the big donors are backing Wayne. This would seem to suggest that narrative is false. If you want to donate to the cause, I would still encourage people to donate to PVF, since that is a sequestered fund that can only be used on electioneering, and can’t be touched for other purposes. Also worthwhile is the Civil Rights Defense Fund, which is also not controlled by any of the players here.

“I’m not pro-Mr. LaPierre, and I’m not anti-Mr. LaPierre, I’m just simply being objective and trying to save a historic institution from itself,” he said. “Right or wrong, the buck stops with Mr. LaPierre, because this occurred underneath his leadership, and he’s ultimately accountable.”

I agree completely with that sentiment. I also agree with him that I’d like to see Cox back in Wayne’s spot. But he suggests Alan West for President. I’d pass on that one.

Chris being forced out was a bridge too far for me. I also am very upset that it’s being reported that board members are being removed from committee assignments as retaliation for not being sufficient boosters of the regime.

Board members are permitted to have opinions on the people they hire and who they are meant to hold to account. Period.

NRATV Summed Up

Good article about NRATV from the Winston-Salem Journal:

It turned out, however, that they didn’t understand the conservative media well enough to find a place in it.

As I’ve said, I found Cam Edward’s show watchable (usually listenable, when I even have the time). What was different about Cam’s show? It was mostly about guns. He made forays into general politics, but it was mostly 2nd Amendment issues.

There’s always a risk when a company wanders outside of what it knows. Ask the Carlyle Group about running a refinery sometime. How’d that go for ya? Ask Delta Airlines the same question. Or Cerberus running gun companies.

NRATV had one thing right: Conservatism today is indeed driven by a politics of resentment and anger, where the threats are overwhelming and there is no higher goal than owning the libs. But as the Times article notes, “The site’s web traffic was minuscule, with 49,000 unique visitors in January.”

Yeah, because that’s totally not also true about your side too.

Could This Be About Money?

John Richardson has an interesting tidbit:

One thing that has been mentioned to me is that there is more than a supposed “coup” attempt behind this. The NRA-ILA gave the NRA proper a substantial loan that has not yet been repaid so that they could cover their bills. The loan was made in the 2017 time frame. Now it is rumored that Wayne came back to ILA asking for a loan in the $15 million range and Chris Cox said no. The other person who had the authority to say “no” on behalf of the NRA-ILA was Scott Christman and he is on administrative leave as well.

Interesting.

What is NRA’s Future?

Wayne will turn 70 in November. He’s the same age as my father, who has been retired now for 8 years. My father is starting to go from an old guy to an elderly guy. How many more productive working years does Wayne have left? Five maybe? Are we to have an octogenarian running NRA? Is there a possibility he’s already losing his mojo and is lashing out?

At some point, NRA will face a future without Wayne at the helm, and they just pissed away the most likely and probably the most effective replacement. Chris was the heir apparent. So what now? This isn’t a long term question. At the very least, Wayne isn’t going to live forever. Chris had already been positioned and groomed. I am hoping the Board starts to understand the depth and seriousness of the matter that is now before them.

Cox Resigns

I’ve read the lawsuit against Ollie North. They don’t have shit on Chris Cox if this is all that’s known. But nonetheless, he’s resigned. This isn’t good. Now ILA is rudderless at a very dangerous time for us.

It’s not clear who inside the NRA could take Cox’s place, and recruiting an outsider could be especially difficult because of the financial turmoil and political bloodletting roiling the group, insiders say.

This is an understatement.

I was reserving judgement until I read the lawsuit. The text that came out in discovery were from April 24th, which is about when we all found out about North’s ultimatum. If Wayne’s side of NRA is going to interfere with ILA’s operations, they’d better have a damned good reason, and if this discovery is all they have, it is not a good reason. I don’t really care if they find evidence Chris Cox was involved in succession planning with the Board. I would expect that if there was a possibility the Board would shit can Wayne. I don’t even really care if he was aware of North’s plot, or expressed a willingness to see Wayne off. Chris Cox is hired by the Board, and is not Wayne’s report. The Board and Board members should be permitted to seek the advice from the people they hire on NRA related matters, and those people the Board hires should be permitted to give it.

I’m becoming more and more convinced Wayne needs to retire, and absent that, the Board should be willing to force the issue.

My message to the NRA Board is that we have a big heap problem. I don’t blame Wayne for the current state of affairs, because there are people that, theoretically, should be holding him to account.

If anyone is to blame, it’s the Board itself for failing to oversee the organization. I get it. I’ve been on boards. But it’s time to clean house. It’s time to start doing your jobs. The future of the NRA is at stake.

NRATV Shuttered

The latest victim in the Ack-Mac dispute. I think Media Matters is feeling a bit self indulgent over believing they played a role, since they brought to light the Tommy the Tank fiasco. Though, I do have to admit that their statement that “NRATV was a malevolent and destructive force” is kind of hard to argue with.

Way before NRATV, Ack-Mac was putting on some reasonable programming. Then they brought in Internet personalities like Colion Noir, Billy Johnson, Dom Raso, and actually, Angry Dana was part of that initial group. None of that early foray I had issues with, because their programming was very gun focused initially, and some of it even watchable. In hindsight, bringing them in as paid professionals was a mistake. They were more valuable to the movement as independent personalities.

I can’t exactly recall when, but at some point Ack-Mac really started taking NRATV off the rails with loony right-wing bullshit that had nothing to do with guns. The poster child I have in my mind for all this was Grant Stinchfield. Any time NRATV became controversial, and I don’t mean “no such thing as bad publicity” controversial, it’s this guy who kept turning up like a bad penny. Angry Dana just got angrier. A lot of our people were publicly questioning the value and tone of NRATV, not just our opponents. The Tommy the Tank gaffe was just the dog shit icing on the mold ridden cake.

I feel for a lot of the Ack-Mac employees who worked hard for NRA all these years, and who are victims of this shit show. But for the sake of NRA’s future, we have to move on. NRATV is gone. Time to keep cleaning house.

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