[ED: We asked for readers to give us their thoughts on the the current controversies swirling around the National Rifle Association and we’ve received a number of thoughtful responses already. Click the link above if you’d like to contribute, too. A few responses follow and we’ll be running more over the next few days.]
Reader Porkchop writes:
I am a retired attorney and certified fraud examiner. I spent years investigating accounting and other financial fraud involving federally insured financial institutions for the federal government. The team I was on recovered more than a billion dollars in restitution for the taxpayers from auditors of failed or failing financial institutions. After I left the government, I did internal investigations for private companies.
Here is my perspective (as a 40-year NRA member, attorney, and fraud examiner):
An organization as large as the NRA, with finances as substantial as the NRA, and with long-entrenched management like the NRA, is exactly the kind of organization where corruption can flourish. But we don’t know the facts.
My advice to the board would be that it has to get ahead of the situation, just like a public company would when faced with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. To be sure, I do not have a great deal of confidence in the board, since it appears that this is a hotbed of cronyism, but this is my advice.
No one outside the NRA has a clue as to who is telling the truth, and, perhaps, there are many at the headquarters building who don’t know either. The state of New York (where the NRA is chartered) is threatening to investigate the NRA’s finances with an eye to challenging its nonprofit status and/or revoking its charter.
Other government agencies may also be looking at the NRA, and there are numerous unhappy members that may decide to leave. Failure to act magnifies the possibility of a disastrous result.
The board should appoint a special audit committee. In turn, that committee should retain a law firm with no prior relationship to the NRA as well as an audit firm with no prior relationship.
The attorneys and auditors should conduct a thorough investigation and report to the board of directors through the special committee. If wrongdoing is found, the board should, first of all, dismiss the offenders and then refer appropriate matters to law enforcement. Then, the board should provide information to the membership about the results of the investigation.
I am sure there will be skeptics, but without an investigation of any kind, it will be business as usual until someone (like New York) comes up with an excuse to destroy the entity completely. It needs to clean its own house if it is going to survive.
From Kellan Bateman:
From what I’ve read, it’s either the end of the NRA or its best year ever. I happen to believe neither of these is true; in most situations similar to this one, it seems to be that the truth is somewhere between these two extremes, and usually a healthy margin away from them both.
I think our only way forward is the following: never place all our eggs into one basket; demand an accounting be provided to the board and long-time, trusted members of the NRA; and be calm and patient.
In the long run, the NRA may become extinct, but for now, it is our best means of defending our rights (it may not even be a good means, but it’s the strongest tool at our disposal right now); and we absolutely must not allow our virulent, and some may rightly say rabid, opponents to tear us apart. The interest of our opponents is not in a strong, healthy, and responsible NRA, it’s no NRA, or any gun rights organization for that matter.
As in the fight for our rights, so in this: the facts must come first, then we can have a reasoned discussion among ourselves on the best course forward, which very well may exclude the NRA, but we have to wait for the full set of facts.
If we don’t trust the mainstream media on Trump’s ice cream consumption habits, why would we trust them on the NRA? Unfortunately, it takes time for the facts to be fully revealed, and until that time, we must support alternative trusted organizations, contact the NRA to demand that the facts be provided, and behave civilly, especially with those with whom we most agree.
All the best,
Kellan W. Bateman
Patriot Life Member
And this from Brent from Virginia:
This NRA Life Member’s take on the situation is this: the NRA, in its current state needs to be torn down and rebuilt. The organization has turned into a way for people like Wayne LaPierre and his cronies to enrich themselves off of the over 5 million member’s good faith donations to preserve our Second Amendment rights.
Wayne needs to go, the Board needs to be reduced in number and its members need to be replaced with new ones who actually care about protecting and expanding our rights.
I can only speak for myself, but after documents were leaked detailing the financial misdeeds of Wayne LaPierre and his cronies, it has led to a lot of doubt and questions about what the true goals of the organization are. I’ve heard people complain the group is controlled opposition, but now I’m starting to wonder if that’s what they are.
Their actions of late, pushing for the bumpstock ban, Red Flag confiscation laws chiefly, among the other moves, makes it looks like they’re trying to ensure they have continued revenue streams by “fighting” against these encroachments they supported in the first place.
Then there’s The Board of Directors. It’s amusing that TTAG ran an article from a group of past presidents and current BOD members that claim all is well with the organization financially, but their own publications such as American Rifleman BEG for donations because of the dire financial straits they’re in due to various lawsuits by New York State and other groups. Who do you believe?
Personally, I believe we need young blood on the board. This includes, gasp, those of us who are part of the millennial generation. While we’re at it, let’s cut the board size down, and, most importantly, allow independent verification of vote counts for Board member elections.
There are plenty of young 2A advocates who would fight tooth and nail to preserve and expand our rights. We need them directing organizational policy.
The old guard has done very little for us, and the last thing I want with the very real threat of a Democrat president who will enact EXTREME gun control, are a group of people who would rather profit than “Stand and Fight”.