Nepotism Lives On At The NRA

One might be under the impression that the NRA has cleaned up its act, put new procedures in place, is respectful of the member’s money, and that the misdeeds of the LaPierre era are never to be repeated. Indeed, that is the premise of the NRA attorney’s arguments as they head into the next phase of the New York trial. Attorney Sarah Rogers of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, wrote in a letter to Judge Cohen, “The remainder of the trial should focus on the sole remaining triable issue of fact: whether any of the statutory violations established in the jury phase are continuing or are imminently likely to reoccur.”

Unfortunately, as I found out yesterday from multiple sources, regardless of the new procedures, nepotism and the disrespect for the members’ money lives on at the NRA. That is because a mere 21 days after Wayne LaPierre’s resignation from the NRA became effective, his niece Colleen Sterner was promoted to be Director of Events for Advancement. She will continue to live and work from her home in Nebraska. According to my sources, insiders are saying her salary is estimated to be in the $300,000 range.

Making the promotion was Tyler Schropp, the Executive Director of the NRA Office of Advancement, and the second highest compensated employee at the NRA according to the NRA’s 2022 Form 990. His total compensation was reported to be $854,219. As exhibits in the New York trial make clear, Schropp went by the “Wayne said/Wayne OK’ed it” modus operandi and actual procedures and documentation be damned.

The NRA Employee Handbook, Sec. C1.12, states that relatives of current employees including nieces and nephews can be hired if qualified. Sterner was first hired by the NRA in 2015 to work for the Women’s Leadership Forum which was led by her Aunt Susan (LaPierre) on a volunteer basis. Sterner supposedly helped organize “national events” but, as an article in The New Yorker points out, her assignments tended to be basic tasks such as helping out with registration.

According to Andrew Arulanandam, an N.R.A. spokesperson, Sterner “played a leading role in producing” the affair. Yet one of the summit’s organizers told me, “I’d never met Colleen before the event started, but Susan had mentioned she’d be part of the staff. She didn’t work at headquarters, and she wasn’t on the regular planning calls or meetings that we had. Her status was never clear to me.”

Internal N.R.A. records show that Sterner was assigned a half dozen basic responsibilities, such as providing “registration support as needed” and serving as a point of contact for a trap and skeet shooting activity. Multiple people who worked the summit said that it was often difficult to locate Sterner.

The article in The New Yorker by Mike Spies which includes many interviews with NRA employees casts serious doubts on her actual work for the NRA. This correlates with what my own sources have told me about Sterner. I would say read the entire article and make up your own mind about whether Sterner is now qualified for a $300,000 director level position. While Spies does write for The Trace and I would disagree with much of his conclusions, the guy gets his facts correct.

The private jet and helicopter flights that the jury in the New York trial found Wayne LaPierre liable for repaying include those that diverted to Nebraska to pick up Sterner as well as a helicopter flight to a NASCAR race in which her husband Terry was a passenger. It is also why Wayne was found to have breached his fiduciary duty under the Non-Profit Corporation Law.

The NRA is currently recruiting for a Meetings Manager. This would be at least one level below a director. Requirements include a college degree, 5+ years of experience, and preferably hold the Certified Meeting Professional designation. Part of the job requirements including contract review and negotiations. Unless I am grossly mistaken, I just don’t see Sterner holding the requisite qualifications other than, perhaps, a college degree.

One has to wonder if the promotion of Sterner to be Director of Events for Advancement was not a quid pro quo negotiated by LaPierre with Schropp in his final days at the NRA. It would not surprise me in the least if it were. Given that Judge Cohen was reportedly leaning away from appointing a monitor to oversee the NRA, this could and should give pause to that. It is more evidence that new leadership is needed, that the house (including upper level NRA managers) must be cleansed, and that the Old Guard and their supporters cast out if the NRA is to be saved as an effective Second Amendment organization. Members, current, former, and future, are not going to donate unless this happens.

9 thoughts on “Nepotism Lives On At The NRA”

  1. The monitor is indeed key. But it could be a bad one intent on finishing the destruction. Or a good reform one. I will wait and see.

    If the NRA doesn’t self-reform which as you note there is substantial doubt about, they will continue to bleed money and eventually disappear.

  2. I had been hoping that WLP would be forced out, the Board replaced and the NRA reformed.

    But I no longer believe it’s possible.

    Burn it down.

    1. It isn’t over yet as the case now goes back to the judge to hold a trial to determine remedies. Unfortunately, the trial is not scheduled to be held until July 15th.

Comments are closed.