The CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA) told the gun group’s board of directors that its legal battles have cost it $100 million, according to a newly revealed recording obtained by NPR.
In the recording from a January meeting, CEO Wayne LaPierre laments “the power of weaponized government” in the form of ongoing investigations by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C. and New York, telling the board that the group has been forced to make $80 million in cuts.
The organization has seen a recent period of internal friction that began at its annual members meeting last April, which saw then-President Oliver NorthOliver Laurence NorthFiling shows pay for top NRA officials surges as key program spending declined: report Five landmark moments of testimony to Congress New York sues NRA’s former ad agency over subpoena MORE resign after accusing LaPierre of financial mismanagement. The state investigations followed, as well as a series of board resignations and a legal battle with Ackerman-McQueen, its longtime advertising firm.
“The cost that we bore was probably about a hundred-million-dollar hit in lost revenue and real cost to this association in 2018 and 2019,” LaPierre said, according to a tape recorded by a source in the room, NPR reported. “I mean, that’s huge.”
In 2018, the last year for which public reporting is available, the NRA and its affiliates raised over $412 million and spent over $423 million.
LaPierre says in the recording that the NRA has been forced to make steep cuts as a result.
“What we did in order to survive and adjust is we took in 2019 and 2020 … about $80 million in real costs out of the NRA budget,” he says in the recording, according to NPR. “I mean, we kind of reframed this entire association. We took it down to the studs.”
Ron Carter, the vice president of the gun-rights organization Save the Second, which is urging financial accountability within the NRA, was one of the board members present.
“The repeated statement from LaPierre about the $100 million cost to the NRA should have come with an apology for having manifested the situation,” he told NPR. “The lack of accountability is troubling for many members.”
The Hill has reached out to the NRA for comment.