In bankruptcy court hearing testimony yesterday, The Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski reports that National Rifle Association secretary and general counsel John Frazer revealed that Wayne LaPierre’s longtime executive assistant and gatekeeper, Millie Hallow, was discovered to have diverted $40,000 of Association funds to pay for her son’s wedding.
While under questioning from lawyers representing New York attorney general Letitia James (D.), Frazer said Hallow was forced to repay the money in 2019.
“A demand for repayment was made,” Frazer said. “And it was repaid with interest.”
Frazer said Hallow remains employed by the gun-rights group. He did not know whether she was disciplined for the incident.
“I don’t know what discussion may have occurred between her and her management,” Frazer said.
So to be clear, an NRA employee (allegedly) embezzled tens of thousands of dollars of members’ dues and contributions…and was allowed to keep her job. In fact, Gutowski’s reporting turned up a similar incident in Hallow’s past for which she pled guilty after “stealing $23,691 from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities while she served as executive director.” That would seem to prevent her from legally owning a firearm.
This raises a few obvious questions:
- How severe does an alleged crime have to be for a top or favored employee of the NRA to be disciplined or fired?
- How many other C-suite employees have committed similar (or worse) infractions and still kept their jobs?
- How many other C-suite employees have committed similar (or worse) infractions that haven’t yet been uncovereds?
Almost two years ago, I wrote that the time had come to de-fund the NRA. The serial examples of mismanagement and the parade of scandals had escalated to the point where it was obvious that senior management and the NRA board had become irredeemable. They had to go if the NRA was to continue to operate effectively and serve its five million members.
While the NRA’s senior management had done an exemplary job of insulating themselves from any meaningful accountability or oversight, there were a couple of things, I suggested, that the average member could do.
First, flood the NRA’s phone lines to let them know they’re not happy with the current state of affairs. Members can call (800) 672-3888 to make their opinions known.
In addition — and more importantly — NRA members should be expressing themselves in the only way left that’s sure to get management’s attention — by starving it of cash.
Just like the increasing number of large donors who say they won’t be writing any more checks until LaPierre and his devotees are long gone, the average member should do the same. Maintain your membership at the minimum amount to retain your voting rights and your voice. But beyond that, cut off all funds bound for Fairfax.
No additional periodic contributions, no purchases of NRA-branded gear, don’t attend the Great American Outdoor Expo or the Personal Protection Expo, no contributions to the NRA-ILA, no Friends of the NRA dinners and no NRA certification courses. Don’t attend and certainly don’t pay for any event or service that will result in more cash for the National Rifle Association.
This isn’t an easy thing to advocate. Despite the mismanagement at the top, the NRA still does a great deal that is very positive. Friends of the NRA dinners and other sponsored events support a great deal of good works like safety training, hunter education, RSO certification, political advocacy and other initiatives that benefit gun owners both locally and nationally.
The question at the time was, would Wayne LaPierre do what’s in the best interest of the Association, step away, and let the NRA begin the long, painful process of rebuilding…or would he hang on to power with a death grip, inevitably pulling the Association down with him?
Clearly, and as we suspected, LaPierre has chosen the latter.
Now he’s spending millions more (for which the Brewer law firm will be forever grateful) dragging the NRA into bankruptcy court in a desperate ploy to shield himself from scrutiny and the Association from the New York Attorney General’s attempts to put it out of business.
As we’ve said before, the expansion of responsible firearms ownership and the furtherance of gun rights in this country is served by a healthy, well-run, effective National Rifle Association. While you may not agree with everything they’ve done or advocated — and we certainly don’t — they can and should be a positive force for safeguarding the right to keep and bear arms in this country.
But LaPierre and the rest of the NRA upper echelon have left the membership with no other choice. The only way remaining to exert any meaningful influence and communicate the desire to see wholesale changes in how the NRA is run and functions is to starve it of the life blood that keeps the current leadership in place — the members’ hard-earned money.
LaPierre himself is due to testify in the bankruptcy hearing today or tomorrow. Buckle up. This will probably get more interesting from here.