nra josh powell
Joshua Powell Courtesy NRA
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The NRA finally had the good sense to throw EVP of Operations Josh Powell overboard back in February after a couple of sexual harassment allegations spilled out into public view. If they needed more justification, there was also the utter debacle that was reportedly his brainchild, the ill-fated Carry Guard affinity insurance program that crashed and burned in spectacular fashion, costing the Association tens of millions of dollars in fines and legal fees.

It’s a real mystery that Powell’s time at the NRA ended so badly. As The New Yorker noted, Powell brought his considerable business skills to the Association after running a couple of lifestyle catalogue operations that were most notable for being frequently sued over unpaid bills.

In her recently-filed lawsuit against the Association, New York Attorney General Letitia James targeted four NRA-related individuals for wrongdoing, Powell among them. She claims that a consulting firm, McKenna & Associates that did a significant amount of work for the NRA, hired Powell’s wife as a “consultant,” paying her $30,000 per month.

James claims those payments to Powell’s wife — like LaPierre’s clothing and travel expenses that were allegedly laundered through Ackerman McQueen — were then passed back to the NRA through McKenna’s billings. James also claims that Powell had Ackerman hire Powell’s father as a photographer, again billing the NRA back for the expense. It was allegedly a scheme to funnel cash to Powell’s relatives while sidestepping the NRA’s internal controls and expense approval processes (such as they were).

So Powell may have been cut loose, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy.

Josh Powell inside the nra

From the New York Times:

Josh Powell, one of the group’s highest-ranking former executives, is poised to release “Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed and Paranoia Within the Most Powerful Political Group in America.” Mr. Powell, former chief of staff to Wayne LaPierre, the group’s longtime chief executive, says the N.R.A. is “rife with fraud and corruption” and writes that its finances “are in shambles,” and that “it has operated in the red for the past three years, despite annual revenues of roughly $350 million.”

The book, to be published Sept. 8 by Twelve, a division of Hachette Book Group, will arrive as Mr. LaPierre and the N.R.A. are fighting for their survival.

While those in the anti-gun media and civilian disarmament community can’t wait to pore over Powell’s magnum opus, we’d guess there will be far less here than is being promised (or hoped for by many).

Excerpts from Mr. Powell’s book provide an insider’s view into the N.R.A.

He writes about the day of the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. — before he had even joined the N.R.A.’s leadership — and describes a conversation with Tony Makris, a senior executive at Ackerman McQueen, which was the N.R.A.’s longtime advertising firm until a bitter legal fight between the two organizations began last year.

“Get ready,” Mr. Powell writes that the executive told him. “This is going to be the mother of all gunfights. It’s really bad. There are still dead kids on the floor. Watch and learn. If we do this right the members will go nuts.”

Mr. Makris, in a statement through his lawyer, said, “A simple Google search will reveal all you need to know about Josh Powell.” Ackerman has previously said in court filings that its executives refused to work with Mr. Powell and accused him of sexually harassing one of its employees; a statement from Mr. Powell’s lawyer said no legal claim regarding harassment had ever been brought. (He was also once the subject of a sex discrimination complaint from an N.R.A. employee.)

After the Newtown massacre, Mr. Powell writes, “membership money and donations were an open spigot,” adding that “if we needed more, Wayne would just pour ‘gasoline on the fire,’ as he put it.”

The organization was working “to create and fuel the toxicity of the gun debate until it became outright explosive,” he writes. “We only knew one speed and one direction: Sell the fear.” He adds, “It worked to excite the most extreme faction of our membership — they ate it up.”

So according to Powell, the NRA girded itself for the fight they knew would come after the horrific Newtown shooting and signed up new members as the Obama administration tried (and failed) to enact new gun control laws in the aftermath.


That jaw-dropping revelation surprises literally no one who’s paid any attention at all to gun rights, politics, or the NRA in the last few decades.

The only news here at all so far is that Powell has taken a presumably big advance from a publisher to produce a ghost-written book that cracks back at LaPierre and the Association he allegedly used to enrich himself and his family.

What’s more than a little curious would be one of the targets of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit alleging wrongdoing by the NRA publishing a book that purports to expose…wrongdoing at the NRA. That would seem to be counter to his own best interests and something Powell’s attorney wouldn’t allow him to do…if, in fact, the book reveals anything more than garden variety c-suite greed and infighting. That’s why anyone expecting juicy details will probably be disappointed.

So don’t look for much, if anything, that’s actually new or revelatory in ‘Inside the NRA.’ And whatever it may contain, it certainly won’t “break open the gun debate” as the cover art breathlessly promises.

All of the NRA’s insiders already have (or soon will) denounced Powell to anyone who will listen. And that’s not just part of the usual wagon-circling the NRA does so well. Powell was a much-disliked, oleaginous presence at Waples Mill Road ever since LaPierre made the highly questionable and ultimately disastrous decision to bring him in as his toady/functionary in 2016.

The only thing Powell’s book is sure to do is give the NRA’s avowed enemies and legion of detractors something supposedly titillating and salacious to write about so they can continue the story and take a few more shots at the deeply wounded operation.

As if that’s something new.



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  1. Soooooo…who’s worse? This future felon or old Wayne?!? I want a solvent above board “honest” NRA. I was pretty happy(as a member)in what they did after Newtown! A helluva lot more fear NOW…vote R in November.

    • Should the leadership at the NRA resign – YES, > if guilty and YES – even if 1/5th is true, but still legal due to loop-holes in the law. NOTE – the Clinton Foundation is guilty of the same accusations – yet seemed to easily have survived thanks to NY political law. But they did loose a lot of Donation Funding once they lost political power.
      Also from the original NY Times Article (18 Aug) – “Ms. James, who called the N.R.A. a “terrorist organization” when she ran for attorney general in 2018, sent a new fund-raising email shortly after filing the complaint.” And from the same article – the NRA gained 50, 000 members the month the suit was filed. Seems this is far from over now that the NRA has counter sued.

  2. “Most powerful”? The teachers unions would like to have a word with you.

    Plus, if it was that damning we’d of heard about by now. It’s probably just the stuff that’s already out there rearranged for $25.

    • $30 @ Barney Nobles for hardcover. & a 1 star review so far. I was looking to see if they posted who the ghost writer was. Would be interesting to see how much Mr Powell’s Advance $$$$$$ was ,and who funded it.

      • SO why does Amazon list under “More about the author” a John Smith? Is he the ghost writer for Mr Powell? Or did he just write the Amazon Review, while leaving out J Powell’s own involvement in the NY AG suit?
        He does have many books listed as his own and others.

  3. Hey, if anonymous same sex rendezvous at truck stops is wrong, then neither Wayne LaPierre nor ‘Geoff…PR’ want to be right!

    • That’s called ‘Projection’, son. You are so confused about yourself, you think others must be like you.

      That’s wrong, son. Look, you don’t need to look for love in truck stops. Somewhere, out there is a woman you won’t have to pay money to have sex with her. She will probably only make minimum wage, but that’s the way it goes. Get out of your mom’s basement, the poor woman needs a break from waiting on you hand and foot for over 30 years… 🙂

  4. You need morally straight people to run the NRA. (I hear heads exploding on TTAG) The entire board needs to be replaced and reduced down to 10 or 12 members at the most in size. Powell is just angry that he was thrown out by people, who are just as morally bankrupt as him.

    People who are morally bankrupt always “kiss and Tell”. I’m sure his book contains accurate “dirty laundry”. They don’t believe is just shutting up and moving on. They have no sense of discretion. And they have no loyalty to the Second Amendment.

    • Morally straight people do not use fear to manipulate others.

      “After the Newtown massacre, Mr. Powell writes, “membership money and donations were an open spigot,” adding that “if we needed more, Wayne would just pour ‘gasoline on the fire,’ as he put it.”

      The organization was working “to create and fuel the toxicity of the gun debate until it became outright explosive,” he writes. “We only knew one speed and one direction: Sell the fear.” He adds, “It worked to excite the most extreme faction of our membership — they ate it up.”

      Annual revenues of $350 million and yet they were completely happy to operate in the red as they looted the organization under cover of fear mongering.

      Evidently, just like New York City whore-monger Donald Trump, they “love the poorly educated!”.

      • @Miner49er – Like a 2nd Lt. you are assuming the rest of us didn’t or can’t read the article. So you needlessly re-post (copy & paste) to then go into a Anti-Trump / Trump supporter moronic insult. You successfully only posted your own low IQ score. Perhaps you should do a little research on Mr J. L. Powell or read the original article this was taken from – NY Times, 18 Aug 2020 -The N.R.A. and Wayne LaPierre’s Next Foe: One of Their Own -> and note the NRA has gained 50,000 members since the lawsuit and that A.G. Letitia James immediately sent out a Fund Raising letter after the filing of the NRA suit. So this debate is far from over.
        Should the leadership at the NRA resign – YES, > if guilty and YES – even if 1/5th is true, but still legal due to loop-holes in the law. NOTE – the Clinton Foundation is guilty of the same accusations – yet seemed to easily have survived thanks to NY political law.

    • Isn’t there a law, that you can’t publish your wrongdoings and profit from the publishing? Sounds like this guy should be in prison for the book, if for no other reason.

      • Yes, there are laws like that. A prosecutor would have to file a motion before a court. A judge would have to rule on it. If Powell can be shown to have violated the law then yes, depending on the specific law and court of jurisdiction, profits from a book could be taken away.

  5. Just another example of “there is no honor among thieves.”
    Josh Powell is just a little rat trying to divert attention away from himself toward a bigger rat (Lapierre). Seems to me the NRA is infested with the rodents.

  6. He’ll need the advance for legal bills soon enough. I appreciate going after the crooks but James demand the org be dissolved is way over the line.

  7. A partisan payday.
    Gotta love political marketing. Doesn’t matter if a product is any good or a hot steaming pile because as soon as you politicize it half the country will eat it up as a virtue signaling show of support/defiance and by the time they figure out what you did it’s too late and the checks cashed.

  8. I won’t be throwing good money after bad, what ever the book price is would be more useful in the fight for the 2 nd. by a donation to GOA,SAF or FPC,than to Powell.

    • I think I would like to have a look at it. I’ll just ask a few of the homeless guys I see going through the trash on garbage day every week to keep an eye out for it. I’m sure it will pop up eventually.

  9. No NDA? Powell should have been completely bound up in an NDA. His book should not be happening.

    • Even if he did sign a NDA, what are they going to do? Sue him? I think their legal defense team is a bit preoccupied at the moment. After which, I doubt they will have the resources left to take him to court for telling (more or less) the truth.

    • I have zero respect for NDAs whether they be governmental, corporate, or between private citizens. No one has the right to tell me that I can’t talk about whatever I know. Non-disclosure begins and ends with military secret classifications, screw everything else. NDAs are just a tool to cover up wrongdoing.

      If you coerced me into signing 100 NDAs, then I discovered that you were engaged in criminal activity, I’d be going to the prosecutor straightaway, and you would be left wiping your arse with your NDAs.

      • Apparently, you are not familiar with the concept of trade secrets. And I can say for sure, you will never work for Coca-Cola…

  10. “…if we needed more, Wayne would just pour ‘gasoline on the fire,’ as he put it.”

    Well, that I do believe. But it’s significant only if you’re dumb enough to believe that the NRA is the only org in the political lobbying and public policy sphere doing it.

  11. Carry Guard would have been fine had not the NRA’s broker screwed up an placed the insurance with a nonadmitted carrier without complying with the applicable law concerning excess carriers. It could have been done legally. But after that blow up, a number of states were all too keen on the idea of outlawing “murder insurance.” (Without of course having any idea how these policies work; the pols just wanted to make sure that any civil or criminal complaint would bankrupt anyone using a firearm, even in lawful self-defense.)

  12. This guy is a complete moron. I have little doubt that 1) his stories are generally true, 2) he paints himself in the most favorable light, and 3) omits his wrongdoing. However, he is facing civil action in New York and possibly facing Federal charges. He should keep his mouth shut and wait for a deal to turn into a witness for the prosecution. He threw away his get out of jail free card.

  13. What Anymouse said –

    It will be interesting to see who will turn state’s evidence and nail their hides to the side of the barn…

    • No, he is not grifting the NRA, he is grifting you!

      Just like Donald Trump, he and the rest of the NRA elites, are using fear and subtle racial demagoguery to manipulate you into giving up your money.

  14. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen Tony Makras’ show on the killing channels for a while. Could this have anything to do with it?

  15. Do not be distracted. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, is the man who choose this guy, hired him for boucoup bucks, and signed off on all his projects. No senior executive at NRA takes a dump without Wayne’s approval.

  16. ” “We only knew one speed and one direction: Sell the fear.” He adds”

    Not exactly Mickey Spillane, is he?

    • Looks like he has a future with the republican party, fellow travelers on the fear mongering bandwagon.

      His next book will be:

      “How do use fear aunt Racism to manipulate the public for fun and profit“

  17. I’ve been a life member for years and feel like I did when I donated to 9/11 and Katrina relief. Screwed. In all cases my hard earned money was wasted on luxury hotels, booze, and so many other nonessential items. They dont fight for gun rights much anymore. Too busy counting their money I guess.
    When I got my Life membership they sent me a knife on a wooden plaque. A knife from a gun outfit? Whats wrong with this picture? Its coming off the wall tomorrow.

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