In Widening Corruption Scandal, NRA Accused Of Funneling Funds To Board Members

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2019/04/27: A photo of Chief Executive and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, chief lobbyist and principal political strategist for the Institute for Legislative Action Chris Cox and former NRA president Oliver North, is displayed on the Indiana Convention Center during the third day of the National Rifle Association convention. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LightRocket via Getty Images

NRA board members benefited from lucrative sweetheart details, according to fresh allegations of corruption surfaced in a Sunday Washington Post report.

The newspaper found that the gun rights non-profit directed money to 18 of the group’s 76 board members.

In one case, board member and ammunition manufacturer Pete Brownell sold $3.1 million in ammo and supplies to the NRA Foundation. Brownell resigned from the group’s board last month, and told the Post through a spokesman that the contract was vetted.

In another example, White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp took home $80,000 in consulting fees while serving as a NRA board member.

The NRA board is tasked in part with overseeing the non-profit’s finances, and with approving deals between related parties. The allegations have attracted the attention of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating whether the NRA has complied with state charities law.

Registered in New York since its 1871 founding, the NRA is subject to stringent state regulations which mandate that charities be run in the interests of the group’s stated mission, and not for the benefit of insiders.

The self-dealing allegations come as the group undergoes a messy breakup with its longtime ad firm Ackerman McQueen, an Oklahoma City-based company that runs NRATV and has worked with the NRA for decades.

The NRA sued Ackerman in April, alleging in part that its then-President Oliver North had signed a separate contract with the ad firm.

The Daily Beast reported on Monday that the NRA’s audit committee sent North an ultimatum last month. The committee told the former Iran-Contra figure that his contract with Ackerman constituted a “conflict of interest,” suggesting that he needs to decide whether to continue on the NRA’s board or stick with Ackerman.

North’s involvement with Ackerman stems from a web series he hosts for NRATV. The non-profit has raised questions regarding whether North’s contract for the series was improper.

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