Current NRA Policy Forbids Accepting Gifts In Excess of $250, But LaPierre Secretly Accepted Elephant Trophies Valued At Thousands of Dollars for Private Home
Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements after a new report from The New Yorker and The Trace revealed how NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and his wife Susan LaPierre accepted and secretly shipped elephant trophies as gifts for their home, seemingly in violation of NRA policy, and the lengths they went to conceal their names from shipping manifestos and other documentation.
The revelations are especially damaging to the NRA as it appears to bolster the lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking to dissolve the organization, providing further evidence of how the LaPierres benefited from NRA vendor relationships.
The report also reveals the elaborate efforts undertaken to conceal that the taxidermy work was for the LaPierres — including a contact of the taxidermist physically scrubbing their name off the shipping crates.
“If Wayne LaPierre put as much energy into running the NRA as he and his wife did to sneaking elephant taxidermy into the country, the organization he leads might not be spending $40 million a year on lawyers,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This sordid tale is just another example of an NRA executive leveraging his position for personal gain.”
“We already knew Wayne LaPierre didn’t have scruples, but now it appears he doesn’t have a heart,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The fact that the LaPierres went to such great lengths to hide what they knew to be embarrassing revelations from coming out in the public shows they knew what they were doing was wrong, but did it anyway — adding to a disturbing pattern of NRA leaders benefitting from their positions with the nonprofit.”
The article details (emphasis added):
The LaPierres felt secrecy was needed, the e-mails show, because of a public uproar over an episode of the hunting show “Under Wild Skies,” in which the host, Tony Makris, had fatally shot an elephant. The N.R.A. sponsored the program, and the couple feared potential blowback if the details of their Botswana hunt became public. Footage of their safari, which was filmed for “Under Wild Skies” and recently published by The Trace and The New Yorker, shows that Wayne had struggled to kill an elephant at close range, while Susan felled hers with a single shot and cut off its tail in jubilation. Plans to air an episode featuring the LaPierres’ hunt were cancelled
In a complaint filed last August, James’s office asserted that trophy fees and taxidermy work “constituted private benefits and gifts in excess of authorized amounts pursuant to NRA policy to LaPierre and his wife.” The new records appear to confirm those allegations. The N.R.A.’s rules explicitly state that gifts from contractors cannot exceed two hundred and fifty dollars. The shipping and taxidermy of the Botswana trophies cost thousands, and provided no benefit to the N.R.A.—only to the LaPierres.
Today’s revelation is one of many recent embarrassing stories to come for the NRA. Just this week, Bloomberg News reported that legal spending at the NRA this year was on track to exceed record-highs for the group, with $22 million spent in the first five months of 2021 alone. This increased legal spending occurred during the NRA’s failed bankruptcy, which showed the world even more of the financial mismanagement and chaos that has consumed the organization for the last two years. The bankruptcy was dismissed in April for not being filed in good faith.
Everytown has chronicled the revelations from the NRA’s failed bankruptcy and other filings at NRAWatch.org, including publishing a report “NRA on Trial: Wayne’s Kingdom of Orange Jumpsuits, Golden Parachutes, and Management by Chaos” with audio from the trial. For further information about the state of play for the NRA, please email [email protected].