Dell’Aquila’s Lastest Letters to NRA Board, New York and DC Attorneys General

nra heaquarters hq

Courtesy NRA

David Dell’Aquila, the dissident NRA donor who has now filed a class action lawsuit against Wayne LaPierre, the NRA and the NRA Foundation, has sent letters to the members of the NRA’s board of directors, New York attorney general Lucinda James and District of Columbia attorney general Karl Racine.

In the letter to board members (PDF) Dell’Aquila counters claims by some — including some NRA officers and board members — that he and his grassroots group are actually tools of anti-gunners such as Michael Bloomberg. He also provides a little more detail as to what Phase IV of his effort will entail.

After raising a number of questions that board members have probably been asking themselves about the Association’s operations and spiraling controversies, he ends this way:

This will be my final letter to you, the honored members of our Board of Directors. I encourage you — do not turn your back on the $162 million of monies currently being withheld.

Together, we can move the NRA to the next level, and restore the credibility demanded by those present and future donors.

The mention of $162 million of withheld funds refers to written pledges of donations, planned giving and advertising revenue that Dell’Aquila’s group has obtained from dozens of individuals and companies.

Reading between the lines, and given Dell’Aquila’s now demonstrated willingness to use the courts to further his effort to dislodge the Association’s current leadership, it’s not impossible to imagine further legal action.

Dell’Aquila has already criticized board members’ reluctance or outright failure to exercise their fiduciary duty by demanding independent investigations of allegations of overspending and insider deals as well as the tens of millions of dollars paid to outside counsel William Brewer.(See his ratings of individual board members here.)

By warning board members not to turn their backs on that significant pile of cash, it isn’t difficult to imagine another possible move…namely, an additional lawsuit — this time directed at board members — for the alleged breach of their fiduciary responsibilities.

Finally, in his letters to the New York and D.C. attorneys general (here and here, both PDF), Dell’Aquila expresses his hopes that neither will 1) drag out their investigations unnecessarily into the election year, or 2) politicize their findings.

Given the animosity that both public officials have openly expressed toward the NRA and the scorpion-like nature of all politicians, those hopes seem overly-optimistic at best.

comments

  1. avatar Draven says:

    to which both atty gen say “drag it out into an election year? great idea!”

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Every other year is an election year, and this process has been dragging on for at least five.

  2. avatar Mack The Knife says:

    Reads like a coup, a power grab or at least extortion.
    Your sitting on valuable dollars that are desperately needed now. Funnel it to the GOA or any other organization that is in the fight. Let the NRA take care of itself for the time being. Believe it or not, but, the NRA is still in the fight for the 2A. Going to court now weakens our current fight trying to preserve the second amendment.
    Take a deep breath and save the battle with the NRA for later. Today we need all hands on deck!!!!!

    1. avatar John Boch says:

      Gun Owners of America has neither the experience nor the staff to mount an effective lobbying effort in DC, much less in the states. They don’t have any track record at doing much more than sending out press releases, newsletters and fundraising. When was the last time the GOA got a bill passed? Or stopped?

      GOA took in barely over $2M in 2018. To put that into perspective, LaPierre spent almost that much every month to the Brewer law firm.

      They spent $800k on compensation for staff. Including about a third of that on senior staff… including Larry Pratt who retired in July 2018… that’s certainly not unreasonable. But they don’t have a top flight legal team, experienced lobbyists or the name recognition the NRA has created over the years.

      If you think just because a few thousand people send $35 or $100 to GOA that they’re suddenly going to fill the gap created by the NRA crashing and burning, then you might as well just go ahead and bury your guns now.

      1. avatar PeacefulOutrage says:

        LOL. We know that within the past 2 years, at least 1 year the NRA took in $400 million, were in the red $10 million, and only spent $1 in lawsuits in the ILA. I don’t care they take in more money. They waste it. If they take in $1 billion and spend and spend less than 1% of that, that is a collossal waste of money. I’d rather the money go to lawsuits than politicians who make false promises and executive members who spend my hard earned cash phillandering and living the lives of celebrities. That is not what people donated the money for.

        If the NRA spent 10% of their revenue on their stated pupose NY wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. I don’t care what newspaper reports it or what “anti” person delivers the information, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

        The GOA, 2AF, FPC, MSI, and any local group fighting the fight that has a proven track record and can be held accountable for their promises are a much better match. They spend money on casework, not politicians who we already pay that want to extort more money to actually do the job we pay them to perform. “The assualt on your second ammendment rights are over!”

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          The NRA-ILA is actively engaged, through its local affiliate the CRPA, in several lawsuits in California, which include appeals and petitions for cert to SCOTUS. it has been involved in numerous lawsuits in Illinois, and it is currently the backer of the NYSRPA in the case pending before the SCOTUS. Not one dollar? Not buying it.

        2. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

          It’s the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund (CRDF) and not the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) that engages in the courts: https://www.nradefensefund.org/current-litigation.aspx. The CRDF’s annual revenue was less than $1.6 million in 2016: https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521136665. Subtracting the CRDF’s executive salaries of about $975k, the CRDF spends about $600k on 2A lawsuits. That’s about half of Wayne LaPierre’s salary.

          Money send to the NRA-ILA isn’t safe, as the NRA has received loans from the NRA-ILA to cover its debt created by its uncontrolled spending.

      2. avatar Mark Bruscke says:

        @John Boch: You are absolutely correct.

        Let’s make the most optimistic assessment of GoA. Even so, they have NOT YET accumulated the experience of the staff at NRA.

        Let’s make the harshest assessment of NRA. WLP has neutered the NRA’s staff and wasted all the Association’s money.

        Simply moving the cash flow from NRA to GoA can’t possibly move the staff of the NRA with its accumulated experience overnight. Such a movement would take years while the next election is in just 1 year.

        We ought to support worthy complementary and supplementary 2A organizations over the long haul. SAF wasn’t built in a day.

        We ought to execute the reform and revitalization of NRA in the next couple of months so that it can be a force to be reckoned with in 2020.

      3. avatar barnbwt says:

        Agreed; there is no way that GOA will be able to scale up fast enough to make effective use of the money. Reforming the NRA is a far better solution…but the NRA has to be reformable for that to be a realistic solution. That’s why it’s imperative this guy’s efforts to ‘extort’ the current leadership into leaving are so critical.

  3. avatar Ima Yeti says:

    life member here. I look at the NRA building, think of the millions of $ that disappear there every year. Then I look at my 1 room home, don’t even have a stove. And I think I could find better ways to spend their money, including free coffee for employees.

  4. avatar Tim says:

    The NRA is self destructing, people are leaving in droves, if they dont fix it, it will die a slow death

  5. avatar Rusty - Molon Labe - Chains says:

    Now is a terrible time for this NRA fight to happen, but there is really no good time. About all NRA can do is a little bit of lobbying, they don’t have the money to do much more. WPL refuses to pack up and go, clearly he would rather fly the plane into the side of a building than allow someone else to take over the controls.

    Not a dime from me until WLP, and Hammer and that whole bunch is gone.

  6. avatar Felixd says:

    So, if you can’t change the organization because you lack the votes of the membership, file a civil action. Sounds like the work of the NY AG. Must be a socialist Democrat donor as well.

    1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

      Yeah! The NRA should be allowed to spend money on fancy clothes, lawyers, and apartments for “interns”.

      Screw that whole spending money on the 2A fight.

    2. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      Our resident NRA shill again.

      Note that NRA members don’t have to prove that the NRA is corrupt, but the NRA has to prove to its members that it isn’t. Your drivel of accusing people that want to change the NRA for the better as being socialist Democrats doesn’t fly.

      NRA = Not Relevant Anymore. The President just said so on national TV. President is repeatedly arguing for expanding background checks right after your Dear Leader Wayne LaPierre told him not to. Maybe he did? We never know what rights Wayne LaPierre is negotiating away behind closed doors.

      1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        You may be right with the Not Relevant Anymore. This is a tough time for 2A, gun owners are in the most precarious situation since Newtown, IMO, and the NRA is a non factor. The media and politicians like to trot them out, “Don’t let the evil NRA stop what the American Public really wants” sort of stuff, but it rings hollow, they’re kinda tilting at windmills, feels like to me. This is serious stuff and 2A supporters are under siege right now and need some support. I’m with the others, I can’t renew or send money when they’re blowing it on all the stuff that’s come out recently. No fracking way, I work hard for my money. That would be a classic case of throwing good money after bad, and I’ve done that enough in my life. No more. Challenging times.

        1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

          If all of our fellow gun owners will call senators and reps. and voice their opposition to the further encroachment of our rights and to the incessant blame campaign against law abiding gun owners. All 80 to 100 million gun owners calling everyday jamming up the phones for congress and the Whitehouse for the next month or 2 , will put a stop to this b s . It has worked before. You cannot send money to a few gun rights groups and expect them to do all the work. This is why we have lost so much already, let the other guy handle it.

    3. avatar Dr. Michael S. Brown says:

      “So, if you can’t change the organization because you lack the votes of the membership…”

      FelixD is being disingenuous and misleading here. There is no mechanism in the NRA charter that would allow a vote of the membership to make changes in how the organization is run. The LaPierre faction controls who gets on the ballot for the 76 board positions and only one third of them are elected in each election.

      The NRA governance structure is supposedly set up to prevent a hostile takeover by the gun grabbers. At least that’s what we’ve been told for at least a couple of decades. But as it now turns out, the purpose of the weird organization was to keep LaPierre in office for life. This oddity is now making more sense.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

        “The NRA governance structure is supposedly set up to prevent a hostile takeover by the gun grabbers. At least that’s what we’ve been told for at least a couple of decades. But as it now turns out, the purpose of the weird organization was to keep LaPierre in office for life. This oddity is now making more sense.”

        It makes some sense, but here’s the *gotcha* –

        Imagine this – Billionaire Leftists (and regular Leftists) start buying lifetime memberships with the intent of eventually voting themselves on the board of directors.

        What’s to stop a covert action like that, that could eventually put Leftists on the BOD, and eventually in control of the NRA?

        1. avatar DaveP says:

          Currently, the BOD has driven away a bunch of NRA members, demonstrated massive corruption, and handed itself to the rabidly anti gun New York DA’s office tied with a pretty pink bow. Due to the malfeasance and incompetence of the NRA BOD, the odds of an organization over a century old living for another three years are growing slimmer every day. So I ask: If the NRA board of directors was in fact controlled by anti gun leftists… what would they be doing differently?

        2. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

          Having a dictator running the NRA for almost 30 years that trades rights away and enriches himself and his cronies is not a solution either. The leftists don’t need to buy their way into the NRA, they just need to prosecute the dictator and his cronies for corruption and shut down the organization in the process. That is what is currently happening!

          The NRA needs transparency and accountability and not secrecy and insider deals! If the leftists ever take down or over the NRA, then we will just move on. The idea that the NRA is the only option to fight gun control is fatalistic. The founders did not need the NRA to fight for their rights either!

  7. avatar David Bradford says:

    What has the NRA done for you lately?
    The bump stock ban was their idea. How did that work for you?

    How about the FPC?
    https://www.firearmspolicy.org/fpc-pa-wilborn-court-victory

    The FPC is fighting and winning in the courts.

    Send your money where it will get put to good use.

  8. avatar Sam I Am says:

    This is getting to be as interesting as the old TV show, “Law and Order”.

    More popcorn, please.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

      Got that rail spur run to your garage yet?

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Got that rail spur run to your garage yet?”

        Don’t need it. Depending on gov’t handouts.

        Aren’t you?

        If not, hurry and sign up for free popcorn and all the other free stuff govt is gonna give us.

  9. avatar kap says:

    NRA in its history has sponsored more gun control bills than the Government, {NFA, 1968 Johnson bill, 1994 Clinton bill}, their BS and money grabbing is a bit much!! every week I get flyers for more money, I suspect money given was for Doobys, Hookers and Moonshine, Bugatti’s Clothes and fat wallets for the dimple dicks!

  10. avatar Ginder12 says:

    The crooks at NRA, not all are crooks, are fighting a holding action because they know when the books are finally opened they are all in miles of deep shit.

  11. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    You will be answerable if this results in any Democrats in power so chose your actions carefully.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      So Wayne LaPierre has no responsibility for the current NRA chaos whatsoever? There is no accountability and no transparency at the NRA and it will be everyone else’s fault? The classic components of a con job.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        Right. A reputable organization would answer these charges by having an external audit from a big name accounting firm and publishing the results. They’d have nothing to hide and would want the world to know that their hands are clean. That they’re actively fighting it and calling Directors who ask for it traitors, tells me they’re dirty.

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “So Wayne LaPierre has no responsibility for the current NRA chaos whatsoever? ”

        Irrelevant. NRA is the only thing on the planet standing between us and immediate and complete gun confiscation. Without the NRA, we will be disarmed forever. WLP and the 5 million NRA members are in absolute control of our firearm future. They are indispensable, the other 58 million non-leftist voters are not. There has never been a victory for “gun rights” that cannot be traced directly to NRA.

        1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

          Quite delusional!

          Heller and McDonald can not traced back to the NRA. The NRA was a last-minute participant in one and an obstructionist in the other!

          The rest of your post just means you should prepare for immediate and complete gun confiscation.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Take a sip of your favorite brewski, and have another read.

  12. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    The defenders of the current NRA overlords are truly suffering from battered spouse syndrome. They will permit extreme mental and physical abuse – sometimes to the point of death – because they think that the abusive partner is providing some sort of benefit. Perhaps the abuser pays the mortgage, puts food on the table and even claims to love the other partner, but in the end they are still criminals.

    I will not excuse the illegal and unethical actions of anybody at the NRA headquarters because “they’re protecting my rights” and “they’re the only ones who know how to lobby.” That’s like the person who says its okay for their spouse to beat them up as long as the bruises don’t show in public.

    I won’t excuse the arrogance of people who believe that they’re above the law. The NRA is paying millions to lawyers who should be experts on how non profits should be run. Instead they pay big money to the lawyers and still get in major trouble for their shady dealings. Don’t give me the line that “everybody does it”. Going back to the abusive spouse scenario, you’ll hear them say that “everybody knocks the wife around a little bit – and besides she likes it.”

    Do we like having our money stolen? Do we like paying $60k a year for an intern’s apartment. Do we like seeing our contributions go to somebody’s favorite charity that isn’t even firearms related? Do we like buying suits so the guys in HQ can “look good”?

    At some point the abused partner has to find the courage to leave. It can be a hard decision. The perceived benefits of the relationship go away and you’re left with a very uncertain future. You’re sometimes left in fear for your life.

    I hear lots of people say that this isn’t the right time for this fight. There is never a good time for an ugly fight but next week or next month or next year the fight will be much worse. My enthusiasm for WLP and his cronies went away a long time ago. I decided that I didn’t need somebody beating me up and asking me on a weekly basis to pay them for more abuse.

    I don’t know how any of this will shake out, but I do know that we’re dealing with some folks who should never see another penny of our money.

  13. avatar LifeSavor says:

    I really do not know how to assess all the above arguments. However, it is clear that not many NRA dollars go to our cause. I only donate to charities that have demonstrated that at minimum, 80% of the money collected goes to the cause, not to overhead. I doubt the NRA can demonstrate even the inverse, that 20% of the dollars collected goes directly toward legislation and lawsuits. So, no money from me for the NRA. I have flip-flopped on this issue, but I have finally settled. My money goes to GOA, SAF, and other orgs intent on winning for us.

  14. avatar Mack The Knife says:

    Interesting, how folks miss the actual point by focusing on their biases.
    1. Fight the right fight at the right time.
    2. All resources with each of their strengths and capabilities must be in the fight.
    3. All available dollars need to be used in the fight where best spent.
    4. We must regroup into a unified single force!!

  15. avatar MDH says:

    A besieged NRA does no one any good.

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