NRA Moves Board Meeting From Alaska to Virginia, Settled 2 Sexual Harassment Allegations Against COO Powell

Josh Powell NR COO

Josh Powell courtesy NRA TV and YouTube

Today was another banner day for the National Rifle Association and its 5 million members. First, the Association announced that it’s moving its September board meeting from Anchorage, Alaska to Northern Virginia.

The NRA had been widely criticized for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold a board meeting in Alaska at a time when it’s spending millions of dollars a month on litigation with the state of New York, and others as well as defending itself in investigations by the New York Attorney General and the District of Columbia Attorney General. Not to mention a class action lawsuit brought by dissident donor David Dell’Aquila

In a letter to board members, NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer wrote,

This decision was made after careful consideration.  As you know, our duty to protect our Second Amendment comes above all else and the NRA is the only organization that can carry out that mission. As details of the congressional schedule were revealed today, it became apparent that a fight of historic proportions is going to begin during the time when we would have been in Alaska.

It is imperative not only that officers and staff be fully engaged, but also that the full board lend its support and assistance. Being in Alaska would have made it impossible for our officers and senior staff to fulfill their duties here in the nation’s capital at this critical period in the Second Amendment’s history.

A variety of gun control bills, both old and new, have been introduced in Congress. Following the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Democrats have acted with more urgency to push them through to votes in both the House and Senate. These include an assault weapons ban, magazine capacity limits and a federal red flag bill.

According to a Newsweek report, moving the September meeting from Anchorage to Virginia will cost approximately $100,000.

Then, late this afternoon, ProPublica in cooperation with Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun internet outlet, The Trace, published a report detailing two sexual harassment allegations against NRA Chief Operating Officer Josh Powell at least one of which as been settled with NRA funds.

One allegation was reportedly made by an NRA employee and was settled in 2017.

ProPublica could not confirm the settlement amount, which is not noted in the nonprofit’s public filings. In a statement, John Frazer, the NRA’s general counsel and secretary, told ProPublica that Powell denied the allegations.

“The NRA opted to confidentially resolve the matter in the best interest of all involved,” Frazer said.

A second allegation against Powell was made a year later.

In a separate harassment dispute in 2018, Powell’s behavior toward a woman who works for Ackerman McQueen, then the NRA’s advertising firm, escalated tensions in their decadeslong business relationship and caused Ackerman to bar him from any further contact with its employees.

Ackerman told ProPublica in a written statement that the firm “formally declared to Mr. LaPierre that it would not have any more dealings with Mr. Powell.” Ackerman said there was “clear reason to believe supported by evidence that he sexually harassed one of our employees and we would not tolerate his further involvement with any of our employees in order to protect their right to a safe work environment.”

Ackerman said the NRA “refused to cooperate” in addressing the complaint against Powell. Instead, Ackerman said Powell received “the full support of Mr. LaPierre and the board of directors.”

The NRA paints a different picture of the Ackerman allegation.

The NRA responded to Ackerman’s statement on behalf of itself and Powell. A spokesperson for the organization called the firm’s claim part of a larger “extortion demand,” in which Ackerman said the NRA “must withdraw” its lawsuit “or face a smear campaign that would include sexual harassment allegations against one of its executives. Ackerman is now delivering on its threat. We are not surprised.”

Read the full story here.

It’s fair to note that neither Ackerman, ProPublica or certainly The Trace are fans of the National Rifle Association. That being said, none of the reporting that’s been done about the turmoil within the NRA going back to the April New Yorker article and everything in between has been contradicted by anything the NRA has said or done.

We should also note that these reports are consistent with whispers, rumors and off-the-record conversations that TTAG has had with those in positions to know about internal NRA goings on for months. We didn’t, however, have sufficient evidence to report it.

Note that ProPublica quotes John Frazer confirming that a settlement amount was, in fact, paid to the un-named NRA employee. Money comprised of membership dues and contributions.

The question then is, why was one of the Association’s top officers allowed to continue in his position (and allegedly continue the same behavior directed at an Ackerman employee)?

The NRA apparently did something following the Ackerman allegation.

…NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the organization “acted appropriately and swiftly” in response to the harassment allegation involving Ackerman. “The NRA removed Mr. Powell from his position as liaison between the NRA and Ackerman, and Mr. Powell had no further involvement with Ackerman.”

The spokesman called Ackerman’s harassment allegations “cryptic,” adding that they “first surfaced in October 2018, shortly after Mr. Powell participated in an effort to significantly reduce Ackerman’s budget with the NRA. Immediately, remarks allegedly made more than a year before became fodder for a harassment claim — accompanied by a demand that Mr. Powell be excluded from any further budget negotiations with the agency. The NRA committed in good faith to investigate the allegation, but the accuser and Ackerman declined to participate in any interview about the alleged incident.” …

Powell has served as LaPierre’s chief of staff since 2016. In December 2018, after the Ackerman dispute occurred, LaPierre announced to staff that Powell would step away from his additional duties as executive director of general operations and join the NRA’s legal team as a “senior strategist” in a high-stakes lawsuit that had been filed that spring against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Department of Financial Services.

 

 

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The disinformation, self-contradiction, obfuscation and hyperbole coming from the official NRA communications is bad enough… when you add in the Public Statements made by Board Members in blogs and on social media, it should be obvious why so many American Gun Owners (including NRA Members) are calling for transparency and reform at the association. A change in leadership is just the start towards a better NRA. Follow @savethe2a_org and sign up for the email list at savethe2A.org for the latest real news and for ways YOU can help #changethenra. We need a stronger and more effective organization with integrity representing our interests. Posted @withrepost • @savethe2a_org Which is it Ms. President? “Everything is fine.” Or “We need your money!” #savethesecond #changethenra

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comments

  1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Well, I just don’t know what else to say at this point. I think the NRA’s house is now fully engulfed in flames for all to see, while the Left points and laughs.

    The debate of *who* is most at fault is now becoming moot. The only way to save the NRA’s reputation is for the house to burn and a new one to be built from the ashes. One that truly stands for our natural, enumerated right to self defense. One that does so for the very reason(s) the Founding Fathers established the 2nd Amendment. No Fudds, no compromise. Breathe life into a rejuvenated organization that can rise from the ashes like a phoenix and become more powerful against the gun controllers than ever before. One that can be the juggernaut we all wish to be part of.

    But building a new house means using new lumber. LaPierre – whether he likes it or not, and whether it’s fully his fault or not – is now the face of an organization in trouble, and by extension our rights are in trouble because WLP’s woes have emboldened the anti-gunners. He MUST step down and make room for a true leader to take up the mantle.

    Until this happens, every “look at what’s happening today in the NRA” article will simply be noise.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      When someone in an organization (especially a non-profit) becomes indispensable, time will come when the indispensable person dies off, as does the organization. If our Second Amendment defense is limited by the life span of a single individual, we are doomed, riding the train to perdition, waiting for the trash car to come along.

      1. avatar SouthAl says:

        Yes. And, to put it a bit differently, if the CEO of a non-profit is indispensable, the CEO has neglected their duties, as has the Board. It is incumbent upon both to make sure the organization can go on in the event of the departure of key personnel. No one is immune from fatal accidents, unplanned illness, etc.

        1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

          Leadership 101. If the company or team you lead is only a car accident away from disaster (because you are gone), then you are an amateur and don’t belong in a leadership position. You always hire the people that will eventually replace you, preferably multiple people to have selection options and to mitigate against departures.

          The NRA is a fan club organized around a celebrity, who has all the power. It is a kingdom with no succession plan and a lot of cronies that hope to have the power one day.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      WLP is not just a face of the trouble riddled NRA, he is the responsible person. As a CEO, it is his responsibility to lead the organization in direction set by the BoD. The buck stops at his desk.

    3. avatar Bcb says:

      Some of the most beautiful woods are those that have recently burned. It might hurt but maybe we need a good hot wildfire to clear the waste.

    4. avatar frank speak says:

      well,..there goes the Alaska “vacation”……

  2. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Here, hold my martooni. Gotta go out to the shed and bring in a case of popcorn.

  3. avatar John Boch says:

    Two complaints on the same guy?

    At least one getting a $$$$ settlement?

    IN the real world, he would be gone. And potentially, his supervisors sued as well for negligence and allowing an unsafe work environment for the ladies.

    1. avatar Duty Calls says:

      Since when does the “real world” apply to the NRA?

      They still claim 5m members yet that is probably five times higher than what’s left of the membership after this never-ending cluster foxtrot.

    2. avatar Chief Censor says:

      North warned Wayne not doing the correct thing after the sexual harassment will lead to the anti gun media reporting it in the news and it would get him/NRA in more trouble. Wayne’s response was the same old tired “it’s an Ackerman coup by Russian commie bots and rich Jewish anti gunners.”

      Now many months later it’s in the news. Adding more ammo to the corporate media’s “large capacity” magazine.

      The media has yet to flush out the private secretary for Wayne who already lived near the NRA HQ but was moved next door to be closer to Wayne. They mentioned the amount it costed but haven’t made a push to make the story any bigger. Who knows what they could find with that one.

  4. avatar John says:

    And the insanity of the WLP led NRA continues on. If anyone is surprised by this, you haven’t been paying attention. The sooner WLP is out the door, the bigger the chance that the organization can be saved and put on the proper course.

  5. avatar MtnDewey says:

    imploded, beyond repair….remove yourself from them

  6. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I think the board was afraid that when they got back from Alaska they would find the door locks changed and a “for sale” sign in front of the building.

    1. avatar Chief Censor says:

      People got upset that the NRA was planning a fund raising trip in Alaska. They were going to spend a lot of money to raise more money from Friends of NRA. They weren’t planning to really have an important meeting in Alaska, they could do that at home. They wanted to take a nice expensive trip with well off people and get them to give the NRA more money.

      Right now a lot of rich people do not want to give the NRA more money. The NRA has ran out of funds to operate the NRA like they did before Trump. The NRA is spending the bulk of money they have left to sue people, these suits are not for the 2nd Amendment. They are now trying to drop pro 2nd Amendment suits to shift money to their NRA suits and the government investigations.

      The NRA doesn’t have the money they did in 2016 for 2020. They won’t be very helpful for Republicans in the elections. They ran out of gas and don’t give a F as long as they get to stay employed.

      That’s modern American culture at its finest.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        let’s face it…they’re using your money to save their ass….

  7. avatar Ezra Markowitz Leiberstein-Goldman says:

    It’s pretty obvious that most of the legit comments and trolls are from TTAG writers.

    I don’t know why they hate Wayne, but I support him. I feel that he made mistakes, but much of this stuff is a smear campaign.

    #supportwayne

    1. avatar stop censoring TTAG says:

      wonder how long it will take for this to get deleted?

      1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

        Why delete something that is on topic and entertaining? Everyone loves clowns!

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        buddy, adjust your tinfoil.

        If TTAG censored for views not in line with theirs, a third of my comments would be gone. And they used to censor way more than they do now

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      if “wayne” had a shred of decency he would have removed himself by now…..

    3. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      I’m neither of your mentioned,just a everyday NRA member who’s P Oed that the membership money has been so poorly mismanaged by Whiney La PewPew and his sycophants,I’ll support Whiney when he is behind bars. Not One More Penny !

    4. avatar Wiregrass says:

      Smear campaign? Every week another member of the board of directors resigns. Pro-gun writers that have been around a lot longer than TTAG are all saying Wayne must go. But were supposed to believe this is a smear campaign.

      If this post was satire, then excuse me for missing it.

    5. avatar barnbwt says:

      Hiya, Wayne!

      It’s telling you guys don’t even bother trying to explain his provable actions anymore. Just “lies, lies & slander! And pictures of also lies! And federal documentation of also lies, not that the NRA was filing fraudulent documentation, how dare you imply that!”

      What a damn joke. Any gun rights group that gives a scintilla of a damn about actually serving its donors’ cause is gonna eat the NRA alive within a couple years.

  8. avatar natural lime flavor says:

    SUPPORT WAYNE! SUPPORT COO POWELL!

    The allegations are FAKE NEWS.

    The anti’s want to destroy the NRA!

    #supportwayne
    #supprotpowell
    #supportnra

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors, is that you? To quote Robert Brown NRA Board of Directors:

      “Wayne, at the last NRA BoD meeting, you promised me you were going to terminate that worthless scoundrel, Josh Powell, in 60 days. Well, 60 days have passed. When are you going to fire him?”

  9. avatar Truckman says:

    I am waiting on him to step down and somebody Good to take leadership and new BOD to come in and clean house and get the NRA back to what it was I know my membership is about to run out and until things change I will not renew and I know I am not the only one

  10. avatar neiowa says:

    Blah Blah Blah. ANYONE that reads Newsweek is a moron and part of the opposition/enemy. Formerly the posterchild for the prog MSM. Now irrelevant.

    Get a life.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      From that Newsweek article:

      “But in a May 22 e-mail to top NRA officials, including the organization’s CEO Wayne LaPierre and its newly installed CFO Craig Spray, Frazer announced that a previous analysis had concluded that moving the planned meeting would run up costs approaching $100,000, due both to cancellation fees with pre-arranged vendors and the higher price of room and board expenses in the D.C.-Metro area.”

      The Newsweek is simply repeating what NRA officials stated previously.

      1. avatar Missouri_Mule says:

        I hear St. Louis is lovely this time of year.
        The temperature and humidity both drop into the 80’s.
        Centrally located too!

    2. avatar Anymouse says:

      Are you claiming there haven’t been settlements, changes of Powell’s position, or a change in meeting venue? The source is ProPublica for harassment, and Newsweek for venue change. Why don’t you go up to Alaska for the meeting since it’s “fake?” I swear, some people are so dumb that they seem to need to be reminded to breathe.

  11. avatar Anymouse says:

    How is Powell still employed by the NRA? After a payout, he’s uninsurable. It doesn’t say whether is was a hostile workplace or quid pro quo harrassment. It could possibly lead to criminal charges, depending on VA law (or wherever the harassment occurred). There’s also the potential for a huge punitive damages for a known serial harasser. It seems like WLP and the BoD have failed yet again to establish policies like any other responsible organization would. There’s another potential lawsuit for gross negligence and dereliction of fiduciary duty. I’ve worked for 5 companies in the last 15 years, and every year they all had an annual sexual harassment training for every employee and contractor. There should have been an oversight and reporting procedure that would have nipped the first incident in the bud before it became a lawsuit/settlement. Powell could have been rehabilitated and sent to classes. He apparently has some legal knowledge and should know the ramifications.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      not in “Wayne’s world”……

  12. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Whiney La PewPew can run but he can’t hide,if he’s not careful and it may already be too late,he will be hiding behind bars.

  13. avatar Dude says:

    “at least one of which has been settled with NRA funds”
    Yet more evidence that these people think they’re members of the U.S. Congress.

    Who’s genius idea was it to meet in Alaska in the first place? Does Wayne’s cousin own a hotel up there?

    1. avatar Missouri_Mule says:

      #JUNKET

  14. avatar Carl up North says:

    As an Alaskan and Endowment Life Member I am disappointed in that I planned and looked forward to attending the Anchorage meeting. That said Wayne and gang will not receive any of my worked/earned funds until he has departed the organization, its chief officers replaced and a full audit completed.

  15. avatar SycamoreRuger says:

    Could one of the victims have been compensated this way?

    “By spending $5,446.16 per month for a luxury apartment for Megan Allen, an intern in Fairfax, Virginia.”

    From the TTAG article about the David Dell’Aquila class action lawsuit 8/7/19.
    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/breaking-dellaquila-files-multi-million-class-action-lawsuit-against-wayne-lapierre-nra-and-nra-foundation/

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    Another nail in the NRA coffin. After Boch’s ILLinois report yesterday they’ll never get a dime from me. Moving my support to GSL,ISRA,SAF and other’s. I don’t belong to any group that “requires” an NRA membership!

  17. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Harrassment? Maybe he should have rented her an apartment first.

  18. avatar Robb Geesen says:

    As an Alaskan I feel shafted. There is a lot at stake and lodging will cost more in Va.
    I know people who booked a cruise back to Seattle after the meeting.
    Cheap excuse, since board members are not lobbyists so needing to be in DC in case of gun laws is a lousy excuse

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