What’s Going On With The NRA?

The Nation Rifle Association has a new president, and the New York attorney general is investigating its nonprofit status.

By Alexandra HartApril 30, 2019 7:08 am

The NRA convention in Indianapolis over the weekend was supposed to rally the group’s supporters. Instead, it highlighted big rifts. A behind-the-scenes leadership struggle broke out into the open: pitting NRA President Oliver North against the NRA’s longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre.

Brian Freskos has been covering this story as a reporter at The Trace.

“There’s been a lot of reporting that shows the NRA has been engaged in a lot of self-dealing and very dubious financial practices. And those practices could result in the revocation of its tax-exempt status – and the NRA needs that tax-exempt status to survive,” Freskos says.

North called on LaPierre to step down but LaPierre fought back and told the NRA’s board North was trying to extort him into resigning.

At this year’s meeting, there was a faction of members who put forward a resolution calling on LaPierre to resign and for the board to release more information about the financial trouble it is in. That same night, the news that New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the NRA became public.

Since then, LaPierre has been reelected unanimously and North did not seek reelection. He was replaced by Carolyn Meadows, who Freskos describes as a LaPierre ally. So where do the NRA’s troubles stand?

“I don’t think the NRA will absolutely cease to exist. It’s a very powerful organization and has a lot of members,” Freskos says. “But if it loses its tax-exempt status, The New York Times I think made a good point pointing out that the same sort of investigation shut down the Trump Foundation – so I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s really anybody’s guess.”