The NRA, In the Red and In Crisis
Monday, April 29, 2019
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Rifle Association's leadership is in turmoil, it's in serious financial trouble and is suing an important, long-time vendor for allegedly overcharging the organization.
The nation's leading gun-rights group has also been an important political force for decades. But its president, Oliver North, just announced he won't serve another term after an ugly public split with its long-time chief executive.
Anna Massoglia, a researcher with the Center for Responsive Politics, a political-spending watchdog, said its most recent tax returns show the NRA is badly in the red.
"We saw a $55 million decline in income since the prior year, and the NRA spending into an $18 million deficit - a deficit that they have for now the second straight year,” Massoglia said. “And so, we're seeing the NRA pretty consistently now spending more than they're actually taking in."
The NRA is suing the company that runs its troubled broadcast arm, NRATV. And an article in the New Yorker magazine alleged a culture of huge salaries and extravagant spending among NRA officers and vendors. A lawyer for the group said the article was written by paid staff of an "anti-gun magazine."
According to the article, executives at the company named in the lawsuit - public relations firm Ackerman McQueen - have all but run the NRA for their own benefit for decades. A lawyer for the firm also said the New Yorker article is entirely untrue.
Massoglia said she can't judge the merits of the lawsuit. But she said the NRA's tax documents show that a different vendor - a fundraising company - made millions off its work for the gun-rights group.
"They kept over half of the money they had fund-raised - they had made about $10 million and kept over $5 million of that,” she said. “And so, you are seeing a variety of different vendors potentially profiting off of the NRA."
Speeches and public statements at the annual NRA convention largely avoided the lawsuit. The group continues to take a combative stance against long-time foes in the gun-control movement and the political left. Its charitable status is under investigation in New York, and its board is expected to address the leadership issue this week.
get more stories like this via email
The State of California is launching a new program that will pay college students $10,000 to volunteer doing public service work for a year. …
A coalition of more than 100 local elected officials is pleading for action on the Public Lands Act, a bill that would add protections for more than …
It's been nearly a year since North Dakota began collecting racial data on people accused of committing crimes - a process that paves the way for a re…
Health and Wellness
Excessive screen time can cause a host of negative side effects in kids, but as some Indiana schools go virtual because of the omicron variant…
The second year of the 134th Ohio General Assembly officially starts today, as both the state House and Senate convene. One of the most urgent tasks …
South Dakota is seeing another round of below-freezing temperatures. As folks bundle up, Salvation Army chapters hope they'll consider donating …
Groups representing young people in Montana hope to stop a slate of election laws from going into effect before the state's primary in June. The …
Colorado and other states are hoarding more than $6 billion intended for struggling families, according to new analysis. In 2020, Colorado denied …