The NRA Responds

It appears that my post on the promotion of Wayne LaPierre’s niece, Colleen Sterner, has hit a nerve at the NRA. I received a direct message on Twitter/X from Billy McLaughlin who is the NRA’s spokesperson. It was sent yesterday afternoon.

Here is the message in its entirety:

John: This is Billy McLaughlin, NRA’s spokesman. Although the NRA does not typically respond to the false reports such as yours- we do so here given the that motivation seems to be reporting falsely the circumstances of our employees. Therefore, we confirm that your report is 100 percent false. In fact, the only information in your report which is accurate is that the employee in question is held in high regard by her supervisor. Please check your sources and “facts” – it is amazing what qualifies as “reporting” about the NRA these days.

First and foremost, I stand by my sources and the veracity of the information that they shared with me. I would not have written the post nor would I have posted it if I did not trust my sources to give me honest and accurate information.

Second, this response is very reminiscent of the NRA’s response to the Mike Spies article in The New Yorker. In that article, Tyler Schropp is quoted as saying, “Sterner is an ‘extraordinary and valuable employee’ who manages ‘national events that make a positive impact on the N.R.A., its members, and its mission.'” Likewise, McLaughlin’s predecessor as spokesperson and now his boss Andrew Arulanadam said, “Sterner “played a leading role in producing’ the affair.” This was in reference to a 2015 Women’s Leadership Forum summit where internal NRA documents showed her responsibilities were basic and rather menial.

Third, as an Endowment Life Member of the NRA my “motivation” is not as McLaughlin states “to be reporting falsely the circumstances of our employees” but to ask why a relative directly linked to what the jury in New York considered a dereliction of LaPierre’s fiduciary duties was promoted. That Tyler Schropp holds her “in high regard” is irrelevant. While it might not seem fair that she is tainted by association with her uncle’s misdeeds, it is what it is.

Finally, given McLaughlin asserts that the “report is 100 percent false”, I would say as my old high school chemistry and physics teacher would say, show me. Is Mrs. Sterner not Wayne and Susan LaPierre’s niece? No, we know that she is. Did she not get promoted to be Director of Events for Advancement? No, we have Tyler Schropp’s email announcing her promotion. Did not Wayne LaPierre divert flights to Nebraska to pick up Mrs. Sterner? No, we have the documentation provided in court that proves it. A blanket assertion that a story or report is false is the oldest tool in the PR flack’s toolbox. It is the PR equivalent of yelling, “squirrel!!!!!”

5 thoughts on “The NRA Responds”

  1. It takes more than a spokespersons lies from the NRA to convince the members…

  2. John,
    I really appreciate your reporting and have every reason to believe both your original story end of this follow up.
    I have little if any reason to believe anything coming out of the NRA on this topic.

  3. “100% false” could just be their quibble with referring to
    about $300,000 as salary instead of compensation package costs. Example. $180,000 annual pay plus 30% employee benefits percentage plus $60,000 flights/hotels/cars reimbursement would add up to $294,000.

    1. You make a good point. One source told me that $200K sounded more reasonable (even that is outrageous) while the $300K figure came from a trusted source who was told it by insiders.

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