NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre says that the gun lobby’s president, Oliver North, is extorting him on behalf of the ad firm that operates NRATV, according to a letter the NRA chief sent to board members on Thursday.
LaPierre claims that North called one of his aides on Wednesday evening, threatening to send a letter containing “a devastating account of our financial status, sexual harassment charges against a staff member, accusations of wardrobe expenses and excessive staff travel expenses.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the existence of LaPierre’s letter.
North purportedly told a LaPierre assistant that he wouldn’t send the supposedly damaging letter if he resigned his position as head of the organization and called off an April 12 lawsuit filed in Virginia against Ackerman McQueen, the gun lobby’s longtime advertising firm responsible for some of its most hair-raising campaigns.
Ackerman has also, since the 1990s, been accused by some NRA higher-ups of scamming the gun lobbying giant by systematically over-billing for its services.
The Virginia lawsuit brought by the NRA suggests that North had a separate financial arrangement with Ackerman that obligated the gun group to cover North’s “costs” for the firm while he was receiving a salary as NRA president.
North hosted a web series for NRATV called “American Heroes.” In the Thursday letter, LaPierre complains of “production shortfalls” in the series, and adds that Ackerman “appears to have responded indirectly” to the NRA’s complaints “by trying to oust me.”
The newspaper reported that after LaPierre sent his letter, North “sent his own letter to the board late Thursday evening, in which he said his actions were for the good of the NRA and that he was forming a crisis committee to examine financial matters inside the organization.”