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WSJ: “NRA Board Retroactively Approved Transactions Benefiting Insiders” Including $100,000 Yachting Trip

September 24, 2019

A new report by the Wall Street Journal reveals previously unreported NRA financial transactions that benefited NRA insiders, and uncovers that the NRA “board retroactively approved numerous financial arrangements benefiting top officials of the gun-rights group, their relatives or close friends, according to board minutes.”

The Wall Street Journal reports (emphasis added):

“The retroactive moves, some involving previously undisclosed transactions, came during two meetings of the NRA board’s audit committee late last year as the gun-rights group was racing to clean up its lax governance practices.

“In one arrangement, not previously disclosed, the NRA paid $1.4 million to a Texas company run by a woman who the board said ‘maintains a longstanding personal relationship’ with the NRA’s then-chief financial officer and treasurer, Wilson H. Phillips, Jr. The payments for unspecified information-technology services ended in 2017, but were approved by the audit committee in September 2018, the minutes show.

Other transactions the committee approved only after they were made include Mr. Phillips paying for a 2018 cruise on a yacht owned by a large NRA vendor; the payment of more than $100,000 to the father of another top NRA official for photography services; and the hiring of the son of yet another senior official as a stage manager and musician.

“In total, the audit committee approved 10 arrangements involving NRA insiders at the two meetings in 2018. Many ‘should have been disclosed and approved in advance,’ the minutes say.

“Charles Cotton, chairman of the NRA’s audit committee, said in a statement: ‘In certain instances where retroactive approvals were appropriate, the Audit Committee confirmed that the services were rendered at fair market value and worked in the best interests of the Association.’ He said the NRA ‘strives constantly to improve its accounting and governance processes.’


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