National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre and the group's former president Oliver North are obviously the biggest fish in the story of corruption and self-dealing at the gun lobby, but they're far from alone.
According to a new report from the Washington Post, over a dozen members of the NRA's board of directors -- directors who aren't suppose to receive a salary -- have been funneling money to themselves in dubious business arrangements.
In all, 18 members of the NRA’s 76-member board, who are not paid as directors, collected money from the group during the past three years, according to tax filings, state charitable reports and NRA correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post. [...]
Tax experts said the numerous payments to certain NRA directors create potential conflicts of interest that could cloud the board’s independent monitoring of the organization’s finances.
“In 25 years of working in this field, I have never seen a pattern like this,” said Douglas Varley, a Washington attorney at Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in tax-exempt organizations and reviewed the NRA’s federal and state filings from 2016 through 2018 for The Washington Post. “The volume of transactions with insiders and affiliates of insiders is really astonishing.”
It seems obvious to question whether the board of directors did not pay close attention to the spending habits of Wayne LaPierre and Oliver North because they have also been self-dealing. Who wants to rock the boat they're all riding on?
The Washington Post spoke to members of the NRA's board who have not received sweetheart deals from the gun lobby and they're understandably perturbed by this report.
A majority of the payments to the 18 members of the NRA's board appeal to be for "consulting" which, as you know, is an exceedingly nebulous term that is often used to hide the fact that these people may or may not actually be doing anything of substance or value.
Experts who spoke to the Washington Post say these payments are not necessarily illegal, but it's clearly a problem for the NRA that certain members of the board who aren't suppose to be paid have actually been getting paid on the side. The existence of these payments to certain board members have never been reported before.
Add in the fact that the NRA is under a great deal of financial stress caused by the lobby's tradition of working with the worst people in the world, one wonders how the organization is even still operating.