For at least 24 consecutive years, the NRA has been a sponsor of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Now-embattled NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has been a speaker at each one of those 24 events.
But as the scandal-plagued NRA engages in bankruptcy court proceedings, will LaPierre show up at this year’s CPAC as it begins tomorrow in Orlando?
CPAC 2021 marks the first time since at least 1997 that the NRA hasn’t cosponsored the marquee GOP event. Thus far, the NRA has given no indication of whether LaPierre will appear at the Orlando event, or whether he would travel coach or private jet in order to get there (as he’s reportedly traveled “for almost every trip” for years).
The NRA’s attention may be elsewhere as the embattled organization faces another hearing in a Texas bankruptcy court today. In just the past few weeks, the bankruptcy proceedings have revealed new profligate spending at the NRA, adversarial parties have sought to dismiss the bankruptcy using the NRA’s own out of court statements against them, and an NRA board member has stepped forward to call for the appointment of an independent examiner to investigate fraud and misconduct at the NRA. Today’s hearing, which can be watched via Webex at 3PM EST, is likely to involve appearances by creditors, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and others.
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is running digital ads in Orlando during CPAC as part of a six-figure TV and digital ad campaign, which highlights how the NRA has spent its members’ dues. The ads are targeted toward NRA members and gun owners and urge them to “ditch” the NRA.
In short, NRA members have been fleeced. Less than ten percent of what the NRA spends goes toward safety, education and training, while the NRA has spent hundreds of thousands on designer suits for LaPierre; millions on private jet travel and trips to exotic locales like Hungary, Greece, and the Bahamas; millions on golden parachutes; and tens of millions on high-priced lawyers.
The NRA’s lavish spending, and the legal consequences that have followed, have led conservative media and purported NRA allies to deride the organization. And, they’ve led to an NRA board member and donor revolt. One board member has called for a trustee or examiner to be appointed to run the NRA, while a major donor claims to have persuaded a like-minded group of supporters to withhold $163 million in pledged donations to the organization. The donor, David Dell’Aquilla, is also leading a class action lawsuit against the NRA.