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NRA Infighting Reaches Fever Pitch with Two New Lawsuits

May 23, 2019

Yesterday, the NRA filed a second lawsuit against its public relations firm and a top vendor, Ackerman McQueen, alleging that the PR firm has leaked damaging information to reporters “to tarnish and ultimately destroy the public image of the NRA and its senior leadership.” The lawsuit also alleges that Ackerman McQueen attempted to execute “a (failed) executive coup” to force out NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre during the NRA’s annual convention in Indianapolis last month. It requests $40 million in compensatory damages from the advertising firm. According to reporting, the NRA paid Ackerman McQueen $40 million in 2017.

According to the New York Times, the NRA said that it “was advised by multiple confidential sources that leaks were emanating from AMc” and that Ackerman had “flatly refused to ask any of its employees to affirm they had honored their confidentiality obligations.” Ackerman responded by saying the NRA was making “shameless and inaccurate attacks on our integrity and our personnel.”

Today, Ackerman McQueen upped the ante. The firm filed a $50 million counterclaim against the NRA, alleging “that it has already given the NRA sufficient access to financial information regarding its work” and that the NRA’s lawsuits are an attempt to cancel their contract with the firm without having to pay “a very substantial amount of money in the form of severance and cancellation fees.”

During the NRA convention, reports surfaced that LaPierre claimed the-NRA President Oliver North was extorting LaPierre to force him to resign. Shortly after, North announced he would not run for reelection after serving just one of the customary two one-year terms, warning board members that the organization could lose its nonprofit status amid reports of financial mismanagement and self-dealing and an internal power struggle between NRA insiders.

Despite suing Ackerman McQueen for a second time, NRA leaders sent a letter to members Wednesday declaring “that it was ‘now moving forward’ from an ugly power struggle that had consumed its leadership at the highest levels,” and expressing confidence in LaPierre, according to the New York Times.

The most recent lawsuits follow weeks of devastating news reports detailing widespread financial mismanagement and alleged self-dealing at the highest levels of the NRA’s leadership, including LaPierre. The reports have led at least two NRA board members to call for LaPierre’s resignation. The calls came after press reports about LaPierre’s lavish spending, including stays in the Bahamas, Italy, and Reno, Nevada and $275,000 in purchases from a high-end Italian clothier in Beverly Hills over a 13-year stretch.

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