April 21, 2020

NRAs LaPierre said the gun group took a $100 million hit from recent legal battles
The National Rifle Association, like most organizations, has probably been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was in pretty bad financial shape before that, according to audio of CEO Wayne LaPierre obtained by NPR News. At a Jan. 11 NRA board meeting in Virginia, LaPierre said "the cost that we bore" from legal troubles in 2018 and 2019 "was probably about a $100 million hit in lost revenue and real cost," adding, "I mean, that's huge." In response, the NRA cut $80 million in costs and took the organization "down to the studs," he said.The NRA laid off staff and announced pay cuts in March, blaming the Coronavirus.LaPierre did not say how much of the $100 million hit came from investigations into the NRA's finances by the attorneys general of New York and Washington, D.C., and how much was a result of a messy divorce with its former longtime public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen. But in an April 15 legal filing, NPR's Tim Mak notes, Ackerman McQueen said it believes the NRA paid outside lawyers "more $54 million" over the last two years. LaPierre seemed to blame New York and D.C., calling the investigations of misspending and self-dealing "the power of weaponized government" like you might find in Russia, Cuba, or Venezuela.The NRA and its affiliates reported more than $412 million in earnings and more than $423 million in expenditures in 2018, with tens of thousands going to foreign fundraising efforts after multiple years of financial shortfalls. Internal tensions over LaPierre's lavish spending and alleged chicanery spilled into the open at the NRA's April 2019 meeting, where the group's president, Oliver North, quit and an attempt to oust LaPierre failed. LaPierre said at the Jan. 11 meeting that NRA membership remains strong at "right around 5 million." You can listen to his comments at NPR and Mak's report below.

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