The NRA has responded to the news that Ackerman McQueen has moved to terminate their contract. Interestingly, the place where I find the most complete version of their statements is on Bloomberg. Go figure.
The statements made on behalf of the NRA come from their outside counsel William Brewer III and NRA Public Affairs Director Andrew Arulanandam.
“It is not surprising that Ackerman now attempts to escape the consequences of its own conduct,” William A. Brewer III, a lawyer for the NRA, said in a statement. “When confronted with inquiries about its services and billing records, Ackerman not only failed to cooperate — it sponsored a failed coup attempt to unseat Wayne LaPierre. The NRA alleges that Ackerman not only attempted to derail an investigation into its conduct, but unleashed a smear campaign against any who dared to hold the agency accountable.”
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the group would begin shifting its communications work. “We have an opportunity to elevate our brand, communicate with a broader community of gun owners and press the advantage in the upcoming 2020 elections,” he said in a statement.
As I said in an earlier post, it looks like Brewer is angling to be the provider of both legal and PR services to the NRA. That would be a serious mistake in my opinion. Arulanandam’s statement does give me a little hope that the NRA will beginning reaching out to more than just conservatives for support. However, they may have burned their bridges on that.
Even though the NRA and Ack-Mac were facing off in court, they still continued to work together. Indeed, Ack-Mac was in the room when in the Board of Directors went into executive session at their board meeting. We find this out from a court filing made by the NRA in their suit against Ack-Mac. The motion asks for a freeze in the proceedings due to Ack-Mac coming into possession of the Powerpoint slides that William Brewer III used to outline the legal strategy.
Again, from Bloomberg.
Then came the alleged subterfuge: An employee of Brewer gave a thumb drive with the PowerPoint file to an audio-visual assistant at the meeting so he could load it onto a laptop computer to display. That AV man was an employee of Ackerman McQueen and later “absconded with a digital copy of the presentation,” according to an NRA filing Thursday in Virginia state court.
After an employee of Brewer’s firm realized the laptop was gone, he called the Ackerman employee, who said he had deleted the presentation, according to the filing. But two weeks later, a lawyer representing Ackerman notified an NRA attorney that he was in possession of not one but two thumb drives onto which the the PowerPoint presentation had been copied. He said no one at his firm reviewed the document because it appeared confidential. He offered to destroy or deliver the drives.
The NRA isn’t satisfied. It filed an emergency motion seeking to halt the lawsuit until it gets to the bottom of how its legal strategy ended up in the possession of Ackerman and its law firm. Virginia ethical guidelines instruct lawyers who receive misdirected communications to promptly notify their legal adversaries. But the NRA claims the conduct by Ackerman has done “imminent, irreparable harm” to it and asked the court to consider disqualifying the firm’s lawyers.
“The facts uncovered so far raise grave concern, because AMc stole the NRA’s confidential and privileged information for its benefit,” the group said. “The PowerPoint provides a roadmap of the NRA’s strategy in the litigation, as well as the thoughts, mental impressions and work product of the NRA’s counsel.”
I’m sure the NRA would like to disqualify Ack-Mac’s attorneys. I’ve read their counter-claim against the NRA and it is certainly better written than the NRA’s original complaint. I will admit to being a bit picky about the quality of writing in legal briefs as I’ve read a lot of good ones over the years for this blog.
As it is, what brilliant person in executive management thought it was a good idea to have employees of the company you are suing to provide technical support? Moreover, it leads to the question as to whether Wayne and Company are so intertwined with Ack-Mac that they can’t tell the difference between an Ack-Mac employee and a NRA employee?