Ollie North’s Letter Read At NRA Meeting Of Members

By now, everyone should know that Ollie North is out as president of the National Rifle Association. I think it came down to a power struggle between Col. North and Wayne LaPierre over the direction of the NRA. Given the glaringly obvious support that LaPierre holds on the Board, North lost this struggle.

The most obvious indication of this was at the Meeting of Members on Saturday morning, April 27th, when the meeting convened and there was no Ollie. After the people on the stage were introduced, then-First VP Richard Childress addressed the meeting and read the following letter from Col. North.

If I remember correctly, LaPierre just sat in his seat on the stage and shook his head a couple of times like he was disgusted. Later, after being glowingly introduced by now-President Carolyn Meadows, he went on to give his typical stump speech which ignored all the financial improprieties and the role of the outside counsel. Since it was apparent that most of the people attending the meeting get 100% of their knowledge of LaPierre from reading his columns in the NRA magazines, he got a standing ovation.

There are a number of other letters that have been posted to the Internet in the last couple of days regarding the NRA’s issues. They are now the basis for yesterday’s article in the Wall Street Journal and other places and I will be posting them. They are all photos of the actual letters. I will post them with little commentary and let you make up your own mind what to make of them.

A Great Summation Of The NRA’s Problems

Lawrence Person in his Battleswarm Blog does a great job in providing a summation of the issues facing the NRA. I think it is a must read. In full disclosure he does quote me in his post but don’t hold that against him!

As to getting its house in order, he writes:

There are some that claim cleaning up the NRA would offer too much succor to the gun-grabbers. But the organizational dysfunction and self-dealing is already out in the open, and is already hurting the NRA’s effectiveness (and has been for several years). If not now, when? Better to do it now, the year before an Presidential election, with Republicans holding the White House and the Senate able to block gun-grabbing initiatives, than during it.

Other than being a member, I am very far indeed from the center of NRA power. For all the grumbling over the NRA caving over bump-stocks, there’s no other organization with the size, scope and political power of the NRA to protect Second Amendment rights in America. But to do that, the NRA has to be on solid organizational and financial footing, and right now it does not appear to be on either. The NRA has to get its own house in order, this year, or expect forces hostile to it and its goals to do it for them.

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned also links to this blog post. He endorses the idea of an independent outside audit team from one of the Big Four accounting firms to come in and do an audit. He is a bit skeptical that it will happen and that even if it does happen then the results will be kept internally.

But just because its sensible doesn’t mean it will happen. I’ve seen a lot of sensible things fall by the wayside in a non-profit and we don’t have to deal with paid staff who also have opinions, and have a lot more time and incentive to manipulate things to come out in their favor. I’m not holding my breath. Even if it does happen, it’ll probably be kept internal.

I hope he is wrong in his skepticism but he has always had a better feel for the inner workings in Fairfax than most anyone else not named Knox.

Democrat On Ways And Means Committee Pushing For IRS Investigation Of NRA

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) is a junior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He ranks 20th in seniority among 25 Democrats in the committee majority. The House Ways and Means Committee helps to oversee the Internal Revenue Service. He is using his membership on the committee to push the IRS into investigating the NRA’s 501(c)(4) non-profit status. This comes a couple of weeks after Everytown filed a complaint with the IRS regarding that status. While still a junior member of the committee, his request obviously carries more weight than that of Everytown.

Today he sent a letter to Commissioner Charles Rettig of the IRS asking him to review the NRA’s non-profit status in light of the recent allegations of “self-dealing, deceptive billing, and other abuses of tax exempt status”. The letter is below and a PDF can be seen here.

Dear Commissioner Rettig:

As a Member of the Ways and Means Committee, I take very seriously my role and responsibility in conducting oversight of our nation’s federal tax laws and ensuring the federal tax code is working as intended. It is with this duty in mind that I am writing to strongly encourage you to investigate recent reports of possible wrongdoing by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which enjoys status as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). The allegations against the NRA reported in The New Yorker on April 17, 2019, including instances of egregious self-dealing, deceptive billing practices, and preferences in contracting are most troubling.

Our tax system is based on voluntary compliance. It is therefore essential that individuals and entities alike have full confidence they will be treated fairly, and the rules and regulations under the law will be applied equally. The American people trust the government will actively ensure all organizations are not engaging in misconduct, and specific to tax-exempt organizations, refraining from impermissible political activity. All entities and individuals who skirt the rules for personal gain should be pursued and penalized.

As you well know, Section 501 of the IRC lays out the types of organizations that qualify for tax-exempt status, as well the rules and regulations such organizations must follow. It is a basic assumption that active oversight and enforcement will improve compliance. However, in 2018, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report that found the further processing of multiple legitimate referrals alleging improper political activity by tax-exempt organizations were not pursued. This report finding raises questions about the IRS’s enforcement of our federal tax laws.

I am concerned about the potential long-term harm that diminished enforcement will have on the many nonprofit organizations that do follow the rules and take their charitable and social welfare purpose seriously. The alleged NRA operating practices also raise the question of whether current rules and procedures are adequate to guard against abuse.

In light of this information, I respectfully ask that you review whether the recent allegations against the NRA warrant reconsideration of the organization’s tax-exempt status. If you determine there is not sufficient information or resources to undertake this review, and other routine examinations of tax-exempt social welfare organizations, I ask that you provide recommendations to Congress on how we can best ensure the IRS is able to appropriately enforce our nation’s tax laws.

Non-profit organizations have always played a critical role in our society, improving the lives of millions of Americans. When trust in our tax laws is eroded, Congress and the Administration have a joint responsibility to investigate and act. The American people deserve to know that tax-exempt organizations are not abusing their preferential tax treatment and are operating according to their intended social welfare purpose, which is to benefit society.

I thank you in advance for your consideration.


Bradley S. Schneider

Schneider references a 2018 report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration regarding referrals alleging improper political activity by tax-exempt organizations. Mind you that at 501(c)(4) is allowed to engage in some political activity. Moreover, it was the weaponized IRS during the Obama Administration that was going after Tea Party and other other conservative organizations. Remember Lois Lerner? I wonder how many of the referrals that were not pursued were related to that time period. Hmm.

Inspector General J. Russell George was testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee today and Schneider used his time to grill him regarding the NRA and its 501(c)(4) status. He pitched his argument in terms of funding cuts to the IRS and whether that would impair their ability to go after organization like the NRA if it was found to engage in illegal and improper activity. Of course as the transcript makes clear, the leading questions all dealt with the NRA.

You can see the questioning in the YouTube video below helpfully provided by Rep. Schneider’s office.

I often feel sorry for any official who has to testify before Congress. The questioning is not really a give and take question and answer session so much as it is the politician rambling on in a political statement with an occasional question interspersed.

That said, the pressure on the NRA is being increased. As I said yesterday, the NRA can either get its house in order itself or it will be done for them. If I seem to be harping on getting their house in order, it is because I want to see a strong, effective NRA and not some neutered shadow of its former self.

Coffee With Craig

I was interviewed by Craig DeLuz on Coffee with Craig earlier in April regarding the lawsuit brought against Remington by certain Newtown families. It was done after the Connecticut Supreme Court found 4-3 in favor of letting the suit proceed despite the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Coffee with Craig is a production of the Firearms Policy Coalition.

You can view the 15 minute interview below.

Don’t Shoot The Messenger, Part 2

Just like Chinese water torture, I think we are in for a series of NRA articles from The New Yorker detailing self-dealing, lavish spending, accounting irregularities, nepotism, and sweetheart deals at the National Rifle Association. The latest episode was released yesterday and is entitled, “An Internal Memo Raises New Questions About Self-Dealing At The N.R.A.”

The article starts off describing a one and a half page memo from the NRA’s accountants to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. The memo details a range of “questionable transactions and business arrangement” involving several of the NRA’s top vendors and executives. This memo, unlike earlier leaks, does not go into the Ackerman McQueen issues but rather deals with other items that were found to be irregular. These include reportedly payments made to former CFO Woody Phillips’ “significant other”, cumulative rent of $1.8 million paid for a house to be used by Associated Television International and owned by ATI’s president, and to their fund-raising contractor Membership Marketing Partners.

The memo goes on to question management overrides and approval of housing expenses for certain upper executives.

In addition, the memo drew attention to “senior management override of internal controls,” which led to violations of “accounts payable procedures” and “HR policy,” including “hiring of staff without HR knowledge.” It names four executives who, at the time, were receiving “reimbursement of expenses relating to apartments and living expenses beyond HR Policy Manual stipulations and on a permanent basis.” The N.R.A.’s accountants added that there was “no contract to support the reimbursement request,” which the four individuals continued to claim as a “relocation expense.” The executives named include Doug Hamlin, the N.R.A.’s executive director of publications; Eric Frohardt, the director of education and training; Joe DeBergalis, the executive director of general operations; and Josh Powell, LaPierre’s chief of staff.

Andrew Arulanandam, the N.R.A.’s managing director of public affairs, said that the organization “has, at times, made such accommodations for employees who travel extensively for their jobs.” He added, “The practice of providing such accommodations is approved by N.R.A. leadership and is not uncommon for an organization the size of the N.R.A.”

Powell is the person responsible for bringing in CarryGuard while Eric Frohardt is the former Navy SEAL whom Powell installed as director of education and training and director of training for CarryGuard. Frohardt still lives in Colorado where he owns a range and other businesses according to his LinkedIn page. It is my understanding from those who would know that Frohardt is flown in at the NRA’s expense to work 3-7 days a month. While I have the utmost respect for Frohardt’s service to the nation, 12 years as a Navy SEAL does not make one an expert in training civilians in the legal use of a firearm.

As to Josh Powell, the memo to the Audit Committee mentions his multiple conflicts of interest including the hiring of his dad to do photography for the NRA and his wife, Colleen Gallagher, was hired by a top NRA fund-raising vendor McKenna and Associates. It gets worse.

The N.R.A.’s accountants completed their memo in mid-July. Around this period, the N.R.A.’s new C.F.O., Craig Spray, had to temporarily step away from his role at the organization to deal with a health matter. Someone would need to take his place as the organization’s chief manager of financial activities. According to an internal N.R.A. communication, in July, 2018, Powell was appointed acting C.F.O. for about three weeks, placing him in charge of the accountants who documented his conflicts of interest.

I won’t get into the other issues with regard to Powell other than to say his departure from the NRA would help the organization. Placing him as the senior strategist to work with outside counsel William Brewer on New York litigation is a disaster in the making.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that a lot of the research on the NRA’s problems come from Bloomberg’s The Trace and they did help with The New Yorker articles. I have a theory as to how they are gathering this information. I think Michael Bloomberg and his associates have hired a corps of private investigators whose job it is to find former NRA employees who have left because they were disgusted with the self-dealing and other financial issues. I can’t think of any other way that they could be gathering this inside information unless it was being funneled to them by Ack-Mac.

One way or another the NRA will get its house in order. It can be done either by the Board of Directors or it will be done for them by the State of New York, the Internal Revenue Service, and other outside agencies. Far better that the changes come from within than from without. It can be controlled and managed to make the organization stronger, bigger, and more diverse.

My fear is that new officers of the NRA – Carolyn Meadows, Charles Cotton, and Willes Lee – and much of the Board are such stalwart Wayne LaPierre supporters that they will go along with the status quo (ante bellum) to the NRA’s detriment. Ignoring it is not going to make it go away and will only make matters worse. That, however, is the most probable outcome as things stand now.

Sorry, Spartacus, But I Don’t Need A License For An Enumerated Right

Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker (D-NJ), erstwhile presidential candidate, unveiled a proposal today that would warm the hearts of authoritarians like the late Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Booker’s proposal would require a license to purchase a firearm. The license would only be good for five years, would require fingerprints, would require an in-person interview with the licensing authority, and would require a class in “gun safety” before issue.

As the New York Times reports, the gun control industry has glowing reviews of Booker’s proposal.

“Senator Booker’s plan is bold and thoughtful,” said Peter Ambler, the executive director of Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords. He added that it was a “positive sign” that presidential candidates were “coming to the table with serious policy proposals to make our country safer.”…

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy organization that seeks to end gun violence, said he had seen a “seismic shift” from past campaigns, when the issue of gun violence was considered the “third rail” of American politics.

“Today what we’re seeing is people coming out muscularly for gun safety,” Mr. Feinblatt said. “We’re early on in the 2020 cycle, and I think you’re going to see more and more of this.”

 The gun owner licensing proposal is only one part of his 14-part gun control platform. The platform includes things like microstamping, an IRS investigation of the NRA, and the rest of the usual claptrap. The full platform is not on his campaign website but can be found here.

Given that Spartacus is polling at only 2% – down from 5% in late 2018 – it is no wonder that he is grasping at straws to improve his position. With gun control being the one thing that it seems the Democrats running
for President agree on, it looks to me like a desperate plea for
attention. That it is of dubious constitutionality seems not to bother the Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law graduate.

Gun Control With My Music? No Thanks

I’m on the mailing list of the gun control organizations. I get the emails from Everytown and Brady and Giffords and the list goes on. I do it so I can read what they are up to in their own words. I’d encourage you to do so as well. It is important to know what the enemies of freedom are doing in advance rather than finding out after they’ve just passed another gun control law.

Anyway, in the Weekly Update from the Brady Campaign was this tidbit:

Brady Will be at Bonnaroo this June!

For the second year in a row, Brady is among a small group of nonprofits selected to partner with the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, taking place June 13-16 in Tennessee. We’re excited to introduce the 50,000 concert-goers to Brady and the fight to end gun violence. Our Team ENOUGH leaders will serve on a panel discussion about gun violence prevention, we’ll host an activist-oriented DJ set, and we’ll run a booth throughout the festival. If you’re at Roo, be sure to say hi!

Most people my age don’t have a clue what Bonnaroo is but impressionable Millennials do. Bonnaroo is a four-day music festival held in Manchester, Tennessee which attracts upwards of 100,000 festival goers for music, art, camping, and “changing the world.” Think Woodstock without the mud and with a dose of social justice.

I’ve looked over the list of bands and my age shows. With few exceptions, I don’t have a clue about the performers. Yes, I’ve heard of John Prine, Phish, and Cardi B but I couldn’t tell you a thing about Space Jesus or Trampled By Turtles.

Tickets are not cheap. The prices range from $279 to over $3,000. In other words, you are getting festival goers with deep pockets. It is no wonder that the Brady Campaign wants to be there.

The Brady Campaign knows they are in a culture war and the best way to attract more followers, informed or otherwise, is to go to these festivals. It is their equivalent to the NRA or Grass Roots North Carolina recruiting at gun shows. The problem for us in the gun culture is that there are a lot more people going to Bonnaroo than will be attending my local gun show and they are younger and much more impressionable.

It’s Not Just Legislatures That Are Targeted

We’ve long said that if you want to make sure you get pro-gun politicians elected to Congress and the various state houses, we have to start pushing candidates at the local level. It is the rare candidate that starts out running for office at the state or national level. For every Donald Trump, there are thousands and thousands of other politicians that started with the school board, town council, or even just a town or county appointed committee.

Everytown has just made endorsements for three candidates at the school board or city council level. The fact that they are pushing gun prohibitionists at this level says a number of things. First, they are actually using Bloomberg’s money to start building an actual grassroots. Second, they recognize that candidates start local and then move up from there. Third, it is an expansion of their efforts from the state level to the local level since they have no had success (so far) at the nation level. Finally, getting anti-gun politicians elected to school boards will help in their efforts to make schools less safe (gun free zones) and to encourage hoplophobia in the curriculum.

From their press release:

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund today endorsed three Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America volunteers, two of whom are also survivors of gun violence. The endorsements include Rhonda Hart, a survivor of gun violence and a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action; DeAndra Yates-Dycus, a survivor of gun violence and a volunteer with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action; and Christine McGrath, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action.

“As leaders in the gun safety movement, these candidates have proven that they will never stop fighting to protect their neighbors,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown is proud to endorse Rhonda Hart and DeAndra Yates-Dycus — gun violence survivors who are turning their pain into action — and Christine McGrath, a Moms Demand Action volunteer leader who is working hard to keep her community safe.”

“These volunteers and survivors, some of whom have experienced firsthand the toll of our nation’s gun violence crisis, are running for elected office to enact change in their communities,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Our volunteers have the courage and fortitude to do whatever it takes to make their communities safer, including moving from shaping policy as volunteers to actually making it as lawmakers.”

More on the volunteers and survivors endorsed today and their elections:

*Rhonda Hart, Dickinson, Texas School Board
Hart’s 14-year-old daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High school almost a year ago. Before the shooting, Hart was a school bus driver in Santa Fe, Texas. Hart is a volunteer leader with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action and an Everytown Survivor Fellow. Her general election for Dickinson School Board in Texas is on May 4.

*DeAndra Yates-Dycus, Indianapolis City-Council District 13
Yates-Dycus’ 13-year-old son, Dre, was wounded by a stray bullet in Indianapolis on February 1, 2014. Yates-Dycus is a volunteer leader with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action and an Everytown Survivor Fellow. Her primary election for Indianapolis City-Council District 13 is on May 7.

*Christine McGrath, Verona, New Jersey Town Council
McGrath has been a volunteer leader with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action in Essex County for the past two years. She’s running for Verona Town Council and her general election is on May 14.

UPDATE:  The endorsement of Rhonda Hart by Everytown doesn’t seem to have impressed the voters in Dickinson. According to unofficial results, she lost to Corey Magliolo who received 67% of the vote to her 33%.

The endorsement from New York City based Everytown reminds me of this.

Taurus Job Fair Next Week

Many of you know by now that Taurus is moving their US operations from metro Miami, Florida to Bainbridge, Georgia. They are in the process of building a new plant there in southwest Georgia and plan to be ready to go in December.

Taurus will be holding a job fair in Bainbridge next week on the 7th and 8th of May. While a number of employees will be relocating from south Florida, a number will not. The announcement below gives an indication of who isn’t making the move for whatever reason. Bainbridge, by the way, is less than an hour north of Tallahassee, Florida.

Here is there job fair announcement courtesy of the Outdoor Wire:

Job Fair May 7 – 8 located Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center
May 2019 (Miami, FL) – Taurus®, manufacturer of quality handguns for personal defense, hunting, and recreational shooting, is participating in the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center job fair and will be looking to fill numerous positions for its new Bainbridge, Georgia, headquarters and manufacturing facility.
Operations for the new Taurus facility in Bainbridge will commence in 2019, providing exceptional career opportunities in several occupational areas, such as skilled labor, administrative, accounting, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, and management. In addition to becoming part of a forward-thinking community with a mission of building feature-driven and affordable firearms, Taurus offers a competitive pay structure with health and retirement benefits for its employees.
Join us at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center, Southern Regional Technical College – Bainbridge Campus located at 2500 E. Shotwell Street, Bainbridge Georgia on Tuesday, May 7th and Wednesday, May 8th from 10:00am until 7:00pm.
Following are the current job openings for which Taurus seeks to recruit successful applicants:
  • Product Design Engineers
  • Sales Analyst
  • Controller
  • Accounting Manager
  • Staff Accountant
  • Inventory Accountant
  • Accounts Receivables Clerk
  • Accounts Payables Clerk
  • Accounting Clerk
  • Administrative Support Staff
  • Network Administration Manager
  • Help Desk Engineer
  • Quality Control Inspectors
  • Quality Control Analyst
  • Document Control Specialist
  • Inventory Control Clerks
  • Materials Manager
  • Production Planners
  • MRO Buyer/Tool Room Planner
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Process Technicians
  • Tool Maintenance Technician
  • Shipping and Receiving Supervisor
  • Shipping and Receiving Clerks
  • Firearm Gunsmiths
  • Firearm Inspectors
  • Manufacturing Helpers
  • Production Helpers
  • Assemblers
  • Janitors
All job candidates must be US Persons (Citizens or Permanent Residents) and be able to successfully pass a background and drug test screening.
Interested candidates should also submit their resume directly at resume@taurusholdings.net.
To learn more about Taurus firearms, click here.