Four NRA Board Members Request Outside Investigation

NRA leadership says memo reflects 'misinformed' views

Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, at the NRA Annual Meeting / Getty Images

Four NRA board members sent a letter to the NRA president, secretary, and board of directors requesting an independent investigation of accusations of financial impropriety on Monday.

Sean Maloney, Timothy Knight, Esther Schneider, and Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown signed on to the letter. Their request for an independent investigation of the NRA follows a counterclaim filed by former NRA president Oliver North in the group's New York suit against him.

"Continued leaks, accusations, and counter accusations have left a haze of conjecture surrounding our Association," the board members said. "It is our duty as a duly elected Board of Directors to dispel this cloud, right the Association's path and restore the trust of our members."

The members want the board to take three specific steps.

"First, that the NRA engage outside professionals to conduct an independent, internal investigation and confidential audit into the allegations of financial misconduct," the letter says. "Second, that the NRA conduct an outside, independent review of the millions of dollars in payments to Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors for legal fees. Third, pursuant to NRA Bylaw Article IV, Section 2, Board of Directors, Powers and Duties, that an Outside Independent Special Committee be formed, tasked with investigating and addressing the problems identified above, and required to report its findings and recommendations to the entire Board of Directors."

The requests mirror those made by North in his letters to the board before he was ousted from the position in April. The four board members have been critical of leadership's handling of accusations of financial impropriety and payments made to the Brewer law firm. The have all publicly accused NRA President Carolyn Meadows of removing them from committee assignments over criticisms they've made in recent weeks.

Meadows responded to the letter in a statement Monday night.

"This is a contrived controversy being recycled by those who supported Col. North and his employer, Ackerman McQueen, in their efforts to extort Wayne LaPierre," she said. "I can assure our members that we are coordinated, unified, and focused on the mission at hand: defending the Second Amendment."

NRA leadership also defended payments made to the Brewer law firm, which North claimed amounted to $24 million over a 13-month period, as cost-effective. She added that the 76-member board had vetted the payments.

"The board of directors already has significant insights into the relationship between the Brewer firm and the NRA and the scope of the firm"s work," Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA public affairs, said in a statement. "The firm represents the NRA on many different matters—working to protect our legal, regulatory and reputational interests. We are invested in a fight against Gov. Cuomo, cooperating with inquiries from the Attorneys General Office of New York and DC, and managing well-publicized inquiries relating to the 2016 presidential election—with the Brewer firm helping us on all fronts. Naturally, centralizing these services allows the NRA to gain strategic advantages, recognize cost savings, and improve our advocacy."

Leadership went on to say most of the board supports the Brewer firm.

"The memo reflects a misinformed view of the Brewer firm, its billings, and its advocacy for the NRA," Charles L. Cotton, first vice president and chairman of the Audit Committee, said. "The majority of the board supports the work the firm is doing, the results achieved, and the value of its services. Importantly, this relationship has been reviewed, vetted and approved."

However, the four board members who wrote the letter said the NRA would only be able to clear away doubt about its finances by taking the requested actions.

"With this degree of scrutiny and transparency, the Board can fulfill our legal obligations, remove all doubt regarding our Association's direction, and allow us to return to our mission of protecting our Second Amendment," the board members said.