NRA’s Choice for ILA General Counsel is More of the Same…No Experience and Lots of Baggage

nra heaquarters hq

Courtesy NRA

By Save the 2A

We posted an article to the Friends of Save the Second Facebook page discussion group about concerns with the new Institute for Legislative Action’s general counsel. The choice went mostly unnoticed, but there was some back-channel challenge from people who couldn’t verify that Wade Callender has been hired as the new deputy executive director and general counsel for the NRA’s lobbying arm.

The NRA has been typically opaque with members and American gun owners about this hire, although it was announced internally.

We were tipped off to the lawyer’s problematic background and thought it was worth starting a conversation about. The Institute for Legislative Action’s new top lawyer has no political experience and has argued against some of the NRA’s positions in the past.

The article released by CNN confirms the hire publicly and spells out three primary concerns about Wade Callender:

1. Callender has no apparent experience in politics or policy issues, nor does he have any ties to the firearms industry.

2. Callender comes to the already-troubled NRA while he is embroiled in a public legal dispute of his own with his former employer that involves allegations of financial malfeasance and corporate irresponsibility.

3. Callender comes from an industry that the Wayne LaPierre and others in the community have frequently attacked over the past decade, specifically, a company that produced “violent video games.”

From CNN:

The former Gearbox employee previously worked as a trial attorney in Maryland and served as a judge advocate with the Navy, according to his LinkedIn page. His registration with the Texas Bar lists his specialties as intellectual property and entertainment law.

Callender’s hire, which was announced internally earlier this week, has already sparked concern within the organization.

A source said staffers are perplexed about why the NRA would hire someone with no apparent political experience from an industry LaPierre has demonized, particularly at a time when the issue of gun control is back in the news following a spate of mass shootings.

The article goes on to cover the baggage that Callender brings with him:

He departed Gearbox on sour terms. Ever since, he and Gearbox CEO Randall Pitchford II (who also happened to be Callender’s decades-long best friend) have been trading jaw-dropping accusations in lawsuits.

The lawsuit against Callender accuses him of using Gearbox as his personal piggy bank and lending agency.

“While Callender regularly used the Gearbox credit card for anticipated business expenses such as airfare and meals related to business travel, he also abused the privilege of credit card access by charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses, including family vacations, gun club memberships and firearms accessories, and trying to get six-pack abs,” Gearbox attorneys alleged in their lawsuit.

Before you start thinking that this is some kind of isolated “hit piece” from CNN, an article from a few months ago in D Magazine spells out the specific allegations of Callender’s wrongdoing in more detail. It sounds a lot like the same things many of the current NRA leadership and directors are being accused of: taking advantage of their positions for personal gain.

…Gearbox also claim that Callender persuaded them that he could add value with an executive MBA from Pepperdine, eschewing local MBA programs. They say that Gearbox paid the entire cost associated with the MBA, including tuition and “hotel and first class airfare to Southern California multiple times per month”—to the tune of over $125,000.

On top of that, Gearbox maintains that in 2017 and 2018, when Callender “found himself involved in contentious litigation regarding personal matters in Maryland,” it paid for the GC’s legal fees and expenses totaling more than $50,000. Gearbox also alleges that Callender abused the corporate American Express account by “charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses” that included family vacations to Disneyland, memberships to gun clubs like the Frisco Gun Club, and “trying to get six-pack abs” through charges to “sixpackshortcuts.com.”

The most expensive such abuse, says Gearbox, came on Callender’s last day of employment when he obtained an increase on the American Express line of credit for the purpose of making a $17,000 payment to his Maryland attorneys, incurred the charge, and then “emptied his office and resigned as general counsel” without repaying the expense as promised.

If you’ve never heard of D Magazine, it’s a Dallas lifestyle and local news publication. Guess what other controversial lawyer associated with the NRA and dealing with his own issues is from Dallas? William Brewer, III…infamous lead counsel for Wayne LaPierre and frequent donor to Liberal Politicians who have taken strong pro-gun control positions.

We have to ask if there is a connection to the new ILA General Counsel?

Who’s Making These Horrible Decisions?

We are left to wonder, once again, who is making these decisions at the NRA HQ? Is it really Wayne LaPierre acting independently? Is is the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors? Is it William Brewer becoming the new tail wagging the dog after the break-up with Ackerman-McQueen?

We know it isn’t the Board of Directors as a whole. We know it isn’t the voting members of the NRA. And, we certainly know it isn’t the average American gun owner.

 

This article originally appeared at savethe2A.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

comments

  1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Just wake me up when the NRA has its house in order. Until then, this is all becoming just white noise.

    And I literally tossed three more NRA fundraising mailers in the trash this past week. This time, two of them were from the NRA-ILA claiming that all my 2A Rights were at stake and about to be history! Again!

    I’m sending this quarter’s donation check to CRPA.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      It maybe a long nap as the NRA has been intricate in the infringement of members/Americans 2 nd. amendment rights going back to 1934.

      1. avatar Tugboat says:

        He’s an expert in entertainment law. Sounds like just what the NRA needs.

        With a clown in charge, expect a circus.

        1. avatar Henry says:

          LaPierre, a guy accused of using the NRA as his own prsonal piggy bank, hires a lawyer accused of using his previous employer as his own piggy bank.

          Come on, who cannot see this?

    2. avatar doesky2 says:

      The NRA mailings that have a self-addressed stamped return envelope gets returned with a NO MORE MONEY UNTIL WAYNE IS GONE note.

      1. avatar Wiregrass says:

        I usually do that lately, but the last one I just tossed in the trash because It’s getting harder to keep up with them, at least two a week.

      2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Yeah, I did that with the NRA (not the NRA-ILA) mailer last week. Wrote it in fat red ink so they’d be sure to see my message.

    3. avatar Ing says:

      I used to look at the fundraising mailers and feel a bit guilty about not having cash to donate.

      Now everything I get from them gets ripped up and tossed without a second glance.

      Except my American Rifleman magazine…I do enjoy reading that. Quality has been slipping there, too, though; editorial quality used to be pristine, but typos, misspellings, and homonym errors are creeping in. Things are not going well at NRA HQ. Proofreading is always the first thing to go when publication budgets get cut and staff gets reduced.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Those young people editing have never lived without spell-check. I no that 4 a fact, its tru, reeley, onnest. And… their collage gradz, two.

    4. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I’m pitching all their ads/junk mail also. I’ll wait out the corruption storm and (hopefully) draining of the NRA swamp.

  2. avatar David Deplorable says:

    Jesus H Christ.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

  3. avatar Mercury says:

    Oh boy, the heads of our local FUDDs are going to explode when they read the line about him formerly working for a game developer. Doubly so when they find out Gearbox is best known for its games in the “looter shooter” genre.

    Still think the NRA is representing you? Because this makes it clear to me they’re just another profit-seeking business, and their business is pretending to defend gun rights while working to get gun control laws passed so they can ask for more money to prevent them next time.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Bingo,give that fellow a cigar.

    2. avatar Wiregrass says:

      Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen in comments on NRA related social media, I think most Fudds don’t even notice. They don’t want to look too deep into this. They’ve bought into Wayne’s conspiracy theory story and they’re satisfied with that.

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        Correct in a way much like Leftist’s,another glass of the kool aid and push your head deeper in the sand.

  4. avatar TX762 says:

    What a terrible choice…
    What The Foxtrot!?!?
    Is WLP Totally bonkers?

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Wake ME up when the NRA backs ILL gun right’s…until then they are my enemy. Is there any GOOD news outa’ LaPierreland?

  6. avatar Mark N. says:

    It really should be the board who hires senior staff such as this attorney. But then we know that Wayne has purged all or most all of his “enemies” from the board to assure that it will rubber stamp his selections. And yes, I too am ignoring all of their fund raising efforts and allowing my membership to lapse.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Purging opponents is a common tactic, but once the organization burns through its cash and reserves, it’ll begin starving financially. Then the Board will have to act. And I’m not just talking about increasing their please-send-money mailers from three times per week to four. At some point they’ll have to reckon with the fact that a sizeable portion of their (current and former) membership perceives WLP as being toxic, and finally act.

      In the end, money talks.

  7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I just came here to say, what? no comments under sponsored posts anymore? I was going to say, ‘Well now I finally understand what Gov. Cuomo meant – nobody needs 10 bullets to kill a deer, they need thermal imaging!’

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      LMAO.
      I know! I was going to post a snide comment on the thermal monocle
      (I know, sooo unlike me), but i didnt when i noticed people stayed away in droves.

      Did not want to spoil the pristine silence. 🧐

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        Ditto

        For crap that apparently originates in the former commie USSR

      2. avatar Geoff "Hurry-up and *die*, Ruthie" PR says:

        I didn’t even bother to click on it, and for me, that’s *rare* for TTAG…

  8. avatar 399 says:

    FWIW, I noticed that Callender was playing the “victimized Christian” card in his pissing contest with his last employer.

    Just in case that’s an indicator of factional alignments inside the NRA. Who would have prevailed to make such an unlikely hire, and why?

  9. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Callender wasn’t hired without LaPewPew’s approval and blessing.

  10. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Actually I have a theory on why this guy. He’s an IP attorney. If WLP and company want to salvage anything they had AckMac produce they would be good to have someone with knowledge in that realm. That said the NRA’s spat with AckMac should not be settled via the ILA which is for totally different purposes.

    1. avatar TX762 says:

      You’re completely right. IP and entertainment legal experience.

    2. avatar Wiregrass says:

      I see no value in salvaging anything Ack-Mac produced. Most of it was drivel designed to keep the membership outraged and sending in more money for Wayne’s trips to Italy. But you are probably right.

  11. avatar Nanashi says:

    For the record, the previous employer, Randy Pitchford, is well known to be a scumbag. I’d take Callender’s side just from Pitchford’s actions in the Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle if Callender wasn’t on LaPierre’s side now.

  12. avatar Dr. Michael S. Brown says:

    “financial malfeasance and corporate irresponsibility”

    He should fit right in at today’s NRA! LOL

  13. avatar MLee says:

    It would piss me off but my NRA membership expired at the end of August and will stay expired until Wayne is gone along with this Wade Callender clown. Until that happens, the NRA isn’t getting a dime of my money…EVER.
    Hey NRA…..read it.

  14. avatar M1Lou says:

    This is some crap. “Handsome” Randy is a true dickhead. He has a shady past with money. If the new guy was friends with him, then I would worry. Oh, also Randy has had some issues with a thumb drive and some “magic tricks”. I don’t think the new ILA leader is a good choice at all. It sounds like they want the NRA to fail at the NRA.

  15. avatar neiowa says:

    I’m coming to the conclusion that Zimmerman is just a paid whining troll. The mother-in-law that will never stop and take a breath.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      What other amazing conclusion came to you recently? We are so interested.

  16. avatar enuf says:

    Not too surprising considering all the crap that has come out about Wayne. Corruption, like misery, does love company, after all.

  17. avatar GS650G says:

    Perfect match for lil’ Wayne.
    What size 20k suit does he wear?

  18. avatar Anymouse says:

    A story I haven’t seen here is that Hammer has been getting paid as the sole employee of United Sportmen, which is funded by NRA. She gets $100k from that in addition to the money NRA pays her for lobbying. She’s directly profiting from an org that she’s on the BoD for. It’s no wonder she’s a vocal advocate for the corrupt regime. That’s not the new sleaze though. She also got financed for 2% real estate loans from USoF. She keeps rolling over the loans for larger ones and is up to $200k. She claims that she was borrowing against her retirement funds, but the interest is reported on the USoF tax returns as income. I’ve done a home loan from a 401k before. The interest I paid went back to into my account, which offset the lost earnings from the withdrawn funds.

  19. avatar Felixd says:

    So the best that Danny can do is to add his opinion to a CNN story? Wow! Now we know this is BS. How much does the other side pay you to pass on their disinformation?

  20. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    You can’t make this stupid “S” up, wow!

  21. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    It seems as though the NRA keeps digging themselves deeper and deeper into controversy and scandal.

    1. avatar Anymouse says:

      For once, a comment that is completely accurate and truthful.

      1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        Please please please do not tell anybody I made a statement that is completely accurate and truthful. I would get into so much trouble for violating my contract it is right there in black and white I am only allowed to lie like a dog.

        -The Real True Original Vlad Tepes

  22. avatar JoinGOA,FPC,SAF says:

    U would think bloomberg is running the place & trying rally hard to destroy it!

    With virtually all of the membership with a brain who fund the NRA calling 4 Wayne to leave….what are they thinking? That we will forget the hookers and private jets and half a million in suits for Wayne plus unlimited expense accounts while members making minimum wage work like slaves who blindly give money to the NRA to save their rights which the NRA fails to do!

    With a filing fee of $40.00 for lawsuit & then claim their spending millions to do it!

    1. avatar Henry says:

      You know, if Wayne had stood up for abolishing rights-free school zones instead of kneejerking that “no one should ever being a gun into a school,”, and stood firm on bump stocks instead of promising Trump he would look the other way, and calling Harry Reid “a true defender of the Second Amendment,” and about a dozen other things he screwed the pooch on instead of taking a principled constitutional stand, he’d have a whole bunch of Attaboy slack that he could use right this minute.

      But he didn’t.

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