Taking A Page from the NRA Playbook, Disgruntled NRA Supporters Grade the Board

Jul 22, 2019

Taking a page from the National Rifle Association’s own playbook, disgruntled members and contributors have sent members of the Board of Directors a letter of demands, along with a spreadsheet naming each of the 76-members, and rating them “A” through “F” for the performance of their duties.

The rating system, which dissident representative David Dell’Aquila describes in the accompanying letter to the members, is designed for “grading the members of the Board of Directors similar to how the NRA grades those seeking or currently in public office.”

We have obtained a copy of both, and verified their authenticity through Mr. Dell’Aquila.

According to the dissidents’ grading chart, an “A” grade was given to Board members who have “advocated the replacement of Mr. LaPierre, and/or publicized one’s removal from committee(s) due to questioning leadership, spending policy, etc.”

An “F” was given to a Board member who “supports Mr. LaPierre and his leadership time with insufficient oversight.”

The letter accompanying the grade sheet tells board members their current grade is “dynamic” and can consequently “go from an “A” to “F” and vice versa.”

A none-too-subtle suggestion to raise one’s grade would be the request for “an independent audit, etc.” In other words, the dissidents, at least in this phase of their campaign, seem more intent on the removal of Mr. LaPierre and his leadership team than punishing the individual members of the board.

For the intransigent Board Members who continue to insist they were “inappropriately graded” the letter cautions them to “be prepared to substantiate to the objective ‘eye’ what you have done to excise this metastasized cancer” (essentially, the LaPierre administration).

Additionally, they’re told to “provide past proof or in the future, proof that you have undertaken your duties faithfully as a member of the Board of Directors.”

To those members of the Board and its Executive Committee to “continue to argue that these allegations in the media are false” there’s a simple statement:

“that ‘train has already left the station.” It is immaterial, at this point, not only to our rank-and-file members, but to the anticipated 65 million Republican voters in the 2020 election, and both the attorneys general from New York and Washington, D.C.”

So what do these dissident contributors and grassroots supporters want?

According to their letter, these are their expectations:

“several votes of ‘no confidence’ for Mr. LaPierre, each NRA officer, and Mr. Josh Powell. In addition, they will be requesting a vote to obit an independent financial audit from one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms.”

Further, the letter to the individual board members reminds them that “I don’t know anything about that,” “that is the first time I’m hearing it,” and “I trust Wayne completely”…. “are not deemed within the law as valid acceptable legal defenses. It is your responsibility to know and take the necessary actions to obtain such knowledge.”

The letter also reminds the 76 members that their failure to meet their fiduciary obligations are “subject to personal liability.”

The letter closes with a statement that the “total amount of funds being withheld from the NRA is $162,237,723.” According to Dell’Aquila, those funds include planned giving, plus “membership fees not being renewed, advertisements in NRA magazines, cash donations, etc.”

I communicated with Dell’Aquila regarding the letter, and it’s closing statement “This concludes Phase 3”. I asked, directly what, exactly, that meant.

He explained that the dissidents have a planned four-phase grassroots campaign. In Phase 3, he continued, it was “still possible to handle the problems of the NRA internally”. By “handling the problems” I’m presuming he meant the Board taking the necessary steps to remove Mr. LaPierre and those current officers and directors with obvious conflicts of interest.”

Phase 4, he explained, would involve more drastic measures, and “would be difficult to stop once begun.”

Having spoken with several current and former board members, it would seem that their single greatest fear is being realized. They’re being individually identified and called to account for the NRA’s current situation. What remains to be seen is whether the dissidents intend to pursue a “Phase 4” of their campaign, potentially seeking to attach personal liability for what has now become a highly-documented and very public pattern of profligate spending by the management.

With the dissidents having issued their individual grades, it also seems passive, anonymous membership on the group that is supposed to provide oversight of the massive organization is no longer possible.

Each board member, from Joe Allbaugh to Donald E. Young is listed in the “Grade Sheet.” It also notes along members of the Executive Committee, former presidents, Email/Contact information for each member when available, and their Grade and the Rationale behind it.

A grade key explains the grades as:

A- advocates the replacement of CEO LaPierre and/or publicized one’s removal from committee’s due to questioning leadership, spending policies, etc.

B- removed from committee(s) due to questioning leadership, spending policies, etc, but is not publicized

C- Insufficient oversight/direction to CEO LaPierre

D- Recently added to a committee(s) to limit oversight and fortify CEO LaPierre’s power

F- Supports CEO LaPierre and his leadership team with insufficient oversight

As you have probably surmised, former presidents and current members of the Executive Committee all received “F” grades. Those include: Thomas Arvas, Kenneth Blackwell, Allan Cors, Charles Cotton, Sandra Froman, Carol Frampton, Marion Hammer, Graham Hill, Susan Howard, Curtis Jenkins, David Keene, Tom King, Willes Lee, Current President Carolyn Meadows, James Porter, Peter Printz, Todd Rathner, Wayne Ross, William Satterfield, Ronald Schmeits, John Sigler, Dwight Van Horn, and Blaine Wade.

Only one former president received an “A” grade: Oliver North, the disposed president who is now involved in counter lawsuits over his removal from that position after his calling for independent investigation of the organization’s finances.

At the opposite end of the scale, “A” grades were given to: Dan Boren, Bob Brown, Timothy Knight, Duane Liptak, Sean Maloney, Oliver North, Esther Schneider, and Allen West.

A majority of the board received “C” ratings, based on what the dissidents say is their ongoing insufficient oversight and direction to LaPierre.

The National Rifle Association nor any of the 76 board members have responded publicly to the latest shot in what is becoming an increasingly public fight.

We’ll keep you posted.

—Jim Shepherd