Already struggling due to expensive legal battles, the National Rifle Association is scraping by amid the coronavirus pandemic, with dozens of employees laid off or furloughed and senior staffers taking 20 percent pay cuts.
The organization canceled its national convention and several fundraisers and other events that bring money into the group. In a memo to employees, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said the staffing changes will be temporary. “Defending freedom has never been easy,” he wrote in the email, obtained by The Associated Press. “Over the years, we’ve weathered more tough times than most. But we will rise from this stronger and well positioned to lead the fight to protect our Second Amendment, the First Amendment, and all our constitutional freedoms during the crucial upcoming elections and for years to come.”
The NRA’s legal fights include investigations from state attorneys general into organization’s finances and a contentious split with its longtime marketing firm. Last month, NPR obtained audio of an NRA board meeting held in January, during which LaPierre said “the cost that we bore” from legal issues in 2018 and 2019 “was probably about a $100 million hit in lost revenue and real cost. I mean, that’s huge.” The organization had to cut $80 million in costs, bringing it “down to the studs,” LaPierre added.
The NRA’s most recent tax fillings show LaPierre earned about $2 million in compensation, but the group would not share with AP how much his pay has been cut.
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