An Apology Demanded Of Charles Cotton

This seems to be the night for letters!

Buz Mills, Bill Bachenburg, and Mark Vaughan are demanding that NRA President Charles Cotton issue a public apology to NRA Director Amanda Suffecool. This is for the unprofessional and unbecoming way he treated her at the NRA Meeting of Members on Saturday. At about the 31:25 minute mark of the second video in this post, Cotton challenges the statement from Amanda by saying, “you’ve been on the board, what a year”, as if that made her any less knowledgeable or competent. Amanda was, after all, an engineer for almost 40 years and knows of what she speaks.

Fortunately, the NRA members at the meeting were not having any of Cotton’s crap and booed him quite loudly. Now, the three directors mentioned above have sent out an open letter to all Board members demanding the aforementioned public apology. I could say more about what I think of Cotton as a person and as a supposed leader but I’ll save that for another day.

The full letter is below:

Board-Letter

An Open Letter From NRA Staffers To The Board

I received this open letter to the NRA Board within the last hour. It is reportedly from current and former NRA staffers who are fed up with Charles Cotton, Bill Brewer, and most of the upper management of the NRA. The level of detail in the letter is enough to convince me it is real such as Sonya Rowling being forced to cut a check to Brewer by Andrew Arulanadam. I learned of that just earlier this afternoon.

Here is the letter in its unedited entirety. Given it is an open letter, it is meant for sharing. You might want to share it with each and every Board member that you know. I know they sent it to the NRA email address for the Board but I doubt it will be routed to Board members before their 9am CDT meeting tomorrow in Dallas.

Dear NRA Board of Directors,

We are writing as current and former NRA staff members. We choose to remain anonymous due to the almost certain retaliation from NRA executives and the Brewer firm. Since 2018, our association has been in complete peril, and no one has asked the NRA’s staff for their input. We are the ones who work day in and day out to accomplish the NRA’s mission of promoting the safe and responsible use of firearms and defending the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, it has become clear that NRA’s executives and officers are focused on ensuring a steady revenue stream for the Brewer firm. We pose this question: When will we stop the bleeding, and when is enough, enough?

Over the past six years, the NRA has become unrecognizable. The NRA of 2018 is far different from the NRA of 2024, and this convention hall is proof. This deterioration is due to the NRA’s poor leadership. President Cotton, Andrew Arulanandam, Randy Kozuch, Tyler Schropp, Doug Hamlin, and Sonya Rowling have not, and arguably never have, acted in the best interest of NRA members. The NRA’s recent misfortunes are often blamed on the New York Attorney General. While we are no fans of Letitia James, 90% of the NRA’s issues are now self-inflicted. Yes, AG James has had a gun pointed at the NRA from the start of her campaign, but NRA’s leadership continues to hand her magazines with ammunition.

We will briefly discuss each leader, avoiding rehashing old issues.

President Cotton has overseen many of the NRA’s poor decisions over the years on the Audit Committee, the SLC, and as President. It’s time to change his title from president to king because he is acting as a monarch. King Charles has been positioning himself to become executive vice president and chief executive officer. Anyone familiar with his record at the NRA knows he is not the right fit for EVP. The new NRA EVP needs to be unapologetically pro-gun, innovative, politically connected, and experienced in turning around failing organizations. King Charles is not that person. His primary focus is on maintaining his relationship with the Brewer firm. Recent reports confirmed by the Brewer firm show that King Charles and Bill Brewer even fly on private jets together. The firm claims this saves the NRA money, but this is unlikely. While the firm may not directly bill the NRA for the jet, there is nothing to stop them from increasing their billable hours. This is reminiscent of the MMP yacht situation. King Charles and Bill Brewer are the only ones pushing for the move to Texas because they are both based there. No other staff member, including NRA’s Interim CEO Andrew Arulanandam, plans on moving to Texas. King Charles’s goal is to secure a high salary for a few years as his retirement fund.

Andrew Arulanandam cannot make a good decision to save his life. Since taking his position on February 1, the NRA has continued to decline. Arulanandam exists in his position solely to follow King Charles’s orders and maintain the relationship with the Brewer firm. In fact, Arulanandam reportedly forced Sonya Rowling to pay Brewer millions of dollars today before tomorrow’s board meeting. If King Charles becomes EVP, Arulanandam will be rewarded and return to his high-paying job as executive director of General Operations, with an updated salary and maximized pension at retirement.

Randy Kozuch has been consistently overlooked throughout his career at the NRA. Kozuch is not a leader, and most of the ILA staff don’t respect him. Kozuch is a yes-man. Shortly after becoming executive director of ILA, Wayne asked him for millions from the ILA budget to keep the NRA afloat. Kozuch complied, and his newly hired ILA Finance Director quit after the first week due to discomfort. This wasn’t the first time the NRA asked ILA for millions, and Kozuch complies every time. King Charles, Bill Brewer, and Arulanandam don’t respect Kozuch; he is just the perfect puppet to help pay off Brewer’s excessive bills.

The other executives are equally ineffective. Tyler Schropp, the highest-paid executive at the NRA, can barely raise money without Wayne. Doug Hamlin operates entirely in the red and doesn’t know how to run an organization. Sonya Rowling is only in her position because she is a “whistleblower,” which looked good for the Brewer firm to show a course correction. However, she is inexperienced and would run the organization into the ground without realizing it.

Finally, the Brewer firm is the most ineffective and corrupt part of the NRA. Bill Brewer excels at one thing: losing. He flaunts the money he has taken, pulling up to the hotel this weekend in an Aston Martin while losing consistently. And he is Angus McQueen’s son-in-law. The NRA has funded the McQueen/Brewer family feud for too long, at the expense of our members who faithfully support us.

Board members, when is enough, enough? You are the only ones who can stop this. Charles Cotton is not fit for EVP. Andrew Arulanandam is not fit for EVP. No one at the NRA is currently fit for EVP. The Texas move is a waste of money and unnecessary. The Brewer firm is ripping the NRA off for every dollar we have. The NRA is failing. Revenue is failing, membership numbers are falling, ILA’s power is a fraction of what it used to be, and other training organizations are outpacing us. It is so bad that NRA is liquidating investments to continue paying Brewer. We beg you, as you go into the meeting tomorrow, to stop the bleeding and hold Charles Cotton, Andrew Arulanandam, and the other officers accountable.

Save the National Rifle Association of America.

The NRA Meeting Of Members – Part 1

The NRA Meeting of Members was one for the history books. For the first time in recent memory, you had sitting Directors speaking out in opposition to the leadership. Though President Charles Cotton tried to control the meeting including putting a hard stop time limit on it in an effort to limit debate, it was evident by the end that control had passed to the members.

I regret somewhat that I could not be there in person to witness it. However, there have been some great reports on it from Twitter as well as a couple of videos that have since been posted.

Stephen Gutowski of The Reload did a great job tweeting from the meeting. Here are some of his reports from X or Twitter.

It was the resolution phase of the meeting where things started to go awry for the Cabal. Bearing in mind there was a hard stop to the meeting, they started with a resolution praising President Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX). While nice, it was an effort to run the clock out and not let any of the resolutions that were critical of the NRA or its leadership to be heard. (I have seen multiple resolutions that were intended to introduced that condemned Charles Cotton and his leadership.) They then moved on to what they assumed was going to be a resolution that in Texas would just sail through. The Cabal asked the members to approve a resolution approving moving NRA Headquarters to Texas.

Here is a blow by blow when Stephen’s tweet are rolled together.

There’s now a resolution to move the NRA’s headquarters to Texas. Leadership really wants to do this even though it would have no impact on the New York case. I honestly don’t know what significant benefit this would have for the NRA. 

A member asks what kind of fiscal impact a move from Virginia to Texas given the severe drop in revenue the NRA has experienced recently. NRA president Cotton claims it would be less expensive to operate in Texas. He says Texas has a lot of big companies, too. 

The member wants more specific details on the actual cost of the move. Cotton refers to Arulanandam for that. Arulanandam says the NRA’s current headquarters is too big for the 60 or so staff that actually go in on a regular basis. 

Arulanandam claims the current NRA building is also expensive to maintain. He also says people in Virginia don’t want to work for the NRA. So, he thinks Texas will be a better job pool. Cotton calls Virginia “DC south.” Sounds like an outright retreat from Virginia. Remarkable. 

Arulanandam claims selling naming rights for the new Texas buildings will cover the costs of moving. However, he’s not giving any concrete numbers. The member who asked about it isn’t satisfied with the responses. He wants hard numbers. 

NRA board member William Bachenberg gets up and claims the board hasn’t been given hard numbers on the cost of the mov either. He claims one estimate is $80 million. He also says they can’t sell naming rights for museum exhibits because they were previously sold. 

Cotton is now attacking Bachenberg directly. He says he is wrong and hasn’t been active on the board for years. 

NRA board member Jay Printz gets up and attacks Bachenberg, too. He has been an attack dog for leadership since the corruption scandal first erupted at the 2019 meeting. He jokes that he’s well known for cursing out the opposition. 

Rob Pincus, who was one of those opposition members back in 2019, gets up to speak against the Texas move. Or, at least, moving right now. 

I’m definitely getting some deja vu from the 2019 NRA members meeting. It’s not as roudy, but it’s very similar. 

NRA board member Maria Heil is now speaking in opposition to th Texas move as well. You’re seeing a lot more board members speak out against what leadership wants that usual. That’s very interesting. 

NRA board member Amanda Suffecool is now also speaking against the Texas move resolution. 

Cotton gets loud boos when he insinuates that Suffecool isn’t in a position to understand what’s going on with the move because she’s only been on the board for a year. The biggest reaction so far. 

The resolution to move to Texas is put to a vote. It fails. There was a big laugh when Cotton initially said who couldn’t tell which side won because it was pretty clear. 

And that is where the meeting essentially ended thanks to the Cotton-imposed hard stop.

Just a few comments with my impressions on the meeting. First, attacking gun blogs is ridiculous. I don’t know any gun blogger who doesn’t want the NRA to be more than it has been in the fight for 2A rights. If we have been critical of the NRA, it is because the corruption has impaired the never-ending fight with the gun prohibitionists. Second, Andrew Arulanadam suggesting “naming rights” for a NRA building in Texas would pay for the move is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. To even suggest it is to insult our intelligence. Third, seeing Directors standing up to the Cabal was wonderful. Finally, Cotton attacking Amanda Suffecool was a big mistake and the members present let him know it with their boos.

A False Flag Operation?

I received an email out of the blue yesterday evening from a supposed NRA staff member based in Fairfax. The email was sent to “undisclosed recipients”. I know one of the recipients was Jeff Knox as he had received the same email and was suspicious about it. The email alleges that private jets are still in use by NRA leaders including Charles Cotton and Randy Kozuch.

Here is the email in its entirety:

nraexposed <nraexposed@proton.me>Thu, May 2, 8:01 PM (15 hours ago)
to

I am a current staff member of NRA based in Fairfax. NRA President Charles Cotton frequently flies on Bill Brewer’s private jet (I don’t know if the jet is owned or chartered). Despite ILA Chief of Operations John Commerford testifying under oath that no one at ILA has flown private since Chris Cox left, this is not true, maybe he was covering for his boss Randy Kozuch, who has flown private dozens of times since Chris Cox left.

Now the question is why Jeff, I, and presumably others are getting such an email on the same day that the results of the 2024 NRA Board election are released and that reformers took three of the top five spots. Moreover, it is from a Proton Mail account in Switzerland which promises “end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption.”

While the accusation could be true, so what? If the NRA is not charged for any of these flights do we really care if Charles Cotton flies on Brewer’s supposed jet? A check of the FAA records does not find any aircraft owned by William Brewer III. And what is the purpose of trying to implicate Randy Kozuch who seems a decent enough guy in improprieties?

What makes me really suspicious that this is some sort of false flag or disinformation campaign is what happened when I responded to the email suggesting if this really was the case then they ought to contact the NYAG’s Office.

I got this:

Address not found
Your message wasn’t delivered to nraexposed@proton.me because the address couldn’t be found, or is unable to receive mail.
The response from the remote server was:
550 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: Account recently deleted

The KGB was famous for running false flag operations in order to sow confusion.

What a better time to bait the reformers into making false claims than after they’ve just been elected. I don’t know who is behind this but that seems to be their aim in my opinion.

As I said earlier this week, if you are going to levy criticisms against the existing Board and its leaders, you better have documentation to back it up. An email coming in out of the blue like this making serious accusations is just the sort of thing that demands documentation and it is nowhere to be found.

It’s War! Plus A Warning

There is a war for control of the NRA going on within the Board of Directors. While one could say it started when Wayne LaPierre announced his resignation, it probably started as early as last year when Charles Cotton was given a third term as President and Willes Lee forced out as an officer.

It picked up speed in mid-January when Buz Mills and Marion Hammer within a couple of weeks of one another both called out Charles Cotton’s attempt to become the next permanent CEO and Executive VP of the NRA. This forced Cotton’s hand and he appointed a search committee. The committee as we’ve come to expect is filled with the Old Guard. Even Bill Bachenberg who stayed relatively quiet for years on the Board sent out a letter critical of the search committee.

What had been essentially a Cold War suddenly became a “shooting war” little more than a week ago. That was when Marion Hammer had her contract with the NRA terminated by Interim EVP Andrew Arulanandam. I don’t think anybody believes Arulanandam did this on his own initiative. While we will never know for sure, it more than likely was at the behest of Cotton and Bill Brewer. As “Bitter” posted in the comments to that post, this sent a message to the rest of the Board to back off and don’t question us. If they were willing to take down someone presumably as powerful as Marion, lesser Board members don’t stand a chance to oppose them.

Al Hammond, who is presumably Camp Marion, lobbed a bomb into Camp Cotton-Brewer this past Wednesday where he questioned the leadership of the officers and asserted they were not told the real consequences of the New York trial. The next day a new email went out signed by all three officers – Cotton, Bob Barr, and David Coy – which, among other things, accused Hammond on “peddling partial information and NYAG propaganda” and told recipients to go to the NRA’s own “legal facts” website. In my opinion, any Board member who relied solely on that website would have thought the NRA won the case when the reality is that they lost on most issues.

Willes Lee jumped in yesterday with a Facebook post concerning both Hammond’s email and the officers’ response.

The morning calm of the grazing flock was broken by the shrill clarion cry “Circle them wagons.”

Many NRA Board members (incl me) didn’t know of ‘the missive’ until The Three … NRA officers (gaily signed “Charles, Bob, David”) sent an email disparaging the author as ‘misinformation, disinformation, misled, manipulated, troubling, peddling partial information, distorted’ (whew, all in one email). The Three… told us ask THEM for “honest communications”(!) and directed us to our legal-spin blog & scripted legal affairs meetings. #nothingchanged

You can’t make up this stuff.

Marion Hammer was not done either. On Saturday, she sent an email questioning compensation at the NRA. This was followed on Sunday by a brutal article in the Washington Post concerning Brewer’s influence at the NRA. While no more missives have gone out from either Camp Marion or Camp Cotton-Brewer, with the NRA Annual Meeting just a little over two weeks away this is probably the quiet before the storm.

Now to the warnings. First it is becoming evident that Cotton and Brewer are trying to find out who is leaking their emails. At least two different copies of the Cotton-Barr-Coy response were sent out. There were possibly more but I do know of two for sure.

Second, and this goes for all critics of the existing Board, you must have the documentation to back up what you are saying about them. Not having backup documentation will only provide ammo to the Old Guard aka the Cabal. I am aiming this comment at a claim made by Willes Lee yesterday. He asserted a fundraising letter went out in March listing Cotton as EVP. While I have no problem with Lee pointing out the foibles of Charles Cotton and others of his ilk on the Board and am actually somewhat amused by it, you have to be able to prove it. Unfortunately, no one including Lee seems to be able to locate their copy of that letter. It would suck to have to take back such a damaging claim.

I am neither in Camp Marion nor Camp Cotton-Brewer but rather in Camp NRA Member. My hopes for the Board to do what is right faded a long time ago. It sucks to have to rely on a court in New York City to remedy things but it is what it is.

Marion Hammer’s NRA Contract Terminated

Monday is turning out to be a big news day. I was just sent an email that said Interim NRA EVP Andrew Arulanadam had terminated Marion Hammer’s contract. The email was from Marion Hammer to John Frazer bitterly complaining that her contract had been terminated with four years left to go.

From the email:

From: marion hammer <mphammer1@aol.com>
Date: April 22, 2024 at 12:07:03 PM CDT
To: John Frazer <john.frazer@nrahq.org>
Subject: NRA has dumped me

Today Andrew Aarulanandam called me and terminated my retirement contract with NRA.

Earlier, Randy Kozuch, ED-ILA suddenly quit providing grants to pay my monthly salary (last December 2023).

That leaves me totally without employment or retirement income. 

I was hired by NRA in September 1978 by NRA CEO Harlan Carter and the NRA Executive Director of ILA  — over 45 years ago  I was instructed to set up and run Unified Sportsmen of Florida (USF) as the Florida arm of  NRA and to also lobby for USF/NRA.  I was promised that a grant would be provided to USF to pay my salary as long as I was employed by USF.

Every ED-ILA since then has honored that promise. Until last year when Randy Kozuch broke that promise and simply quit providing the grant to pay my monthly salary. He didn’t fire me, he just quit paying me.   

In other words, I have not had a monthly paycheck since November 2023.  

Nonetheless, I have continued to work for NRA and train the NRA designated replacement lobbyist.  Who,  by-the-way, is a fine young man and who works for Randy Kozuch, and to my knowledge, is not a part of this.

I have survived on the retirement income contract that Wayne LaPierre put in place for me in 2018,

Today, April 22, 2024,  Andrew Aarulanandam, with Vanessa Shahidi in the room, called and informed me that he had decided to terminate the retirement contract that Wayne LaPierre put in place for me in 2018.

The 10-year contract was actually a replacement for the NRA retirement program which I had not been allowed to participate in.  The contract (with 4 years remaining) was to provide retirement income since I had never been included in NRA’s retirement program.

I have faithfully served NRA and NRA members for well over 40 years. As of today, I am no longer being compensated for the work NRA hired me to do.  I have not been fired, they have just quit paying me. 

I just thought you’d like to know what those in charge are doing to those who have faithfully served NRA and our cause.

Bottom line, as of today, I have no employment income and no retirement income.

Later this week (April 26th) I’ll be 85 years old.  So much for over 40 years of dedicated service and work for NRA.

Respectfully,

Marion P. Hammer

I sincerely doubt that Arulanadam unilaterally made this decision on his own. It leaves me to wonder if this was Bill Brewer’s doing or whether NRA President Charles Cotton was behind this. It could have been the two in combination.

You will remember that Marion called out Cotton’s EVP search committee in February and earlier in January had called for a search committee to fill the spot. The January missive was a shot across the bow of those who were trying to install Cotton as the successor EVP. Marion’s February email to the Board also said she didn’t think any internal NRA candidate, e.g., Arulanadam, was qualified to fill the EVP spot.

I really could not be more surprised by this contract termination than if you told me Kris Brown of Brady was going to be the next EVP.

NRA EVP Search Committee Plans Meeting (Updated)

NRA President Charles Cotton appointed a committee of insiders to search for an Executive Vice President and CEO back in February. This move by Cotton came after criticism he was seeking to circumvent the process in order to be named EVP himself. More importantly, as the letter from long-time director Bill Bachenberg makes clear, there was little to no input from the rest of the Board on this move.

Yesterday, an email came out that announced the EVP search committee would be meeting in Atlanta at the end of the month to hear from Board members on their ideas and insights about a new EVP. You can read the full email below:

As you know, on February 10th  President Cotton appointed the Executive Vice-President Search Committee, which he asked me to chair. The Committee has been working diligently to fulfill the charge given it by President Cotton to “determin[e] the process and timing of the selection of appropriate candidates to present to the Nominating Committee and, ultimately, the full Board of Directors.”

An important part of the Committee’s work has been to solicit and consider input from all Board members regarding the procedures to follow in making recommendations to the Board, including suggested names of candidates to consider as EVP. The Committee has sent two emails to all Board members asking for input, and as noted previously, that invitation is a continuing one.

The Committee also specifically extended an invitation to  all former NRA presidents and current President Cotton to appear personally before the Committee at the Committee’s next in-person meeting on April 13th to offer suggestions based on their unique perspective on the position of NRA EVP.

The Committee considers it extremely important also that every Board member have the opportunity to not only send ideas to the Committee, but to appear in person to offer their insights and ideas.

Board members are invited to attend a scheduled meeting of the EVP Search Committee on Saturday, April 27, 2024, beginning at 9:00 AM EDT.  This meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel located at 4700 Southport Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30337. Board members who attend will be provided a reasonable opportunity to make a presentation and engage in dialogue with Committee members.

Please note that Board members will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. The Secretary’s Office will make every attempt to reserve a room at the hotel at NRA’s negotiated rate.

The Committee respectfully requests that any Board member wishing to attend the April 27th meeting inform Committee Secretary Nick Perrine by Friday, April 20, 2024, in order to allow for appropriate scheduling of the presentations.

Thank you for your dedicated service to our Association, and for your support of the Committee’s important task.   

Bob Barr

Chairman, EVP Search Committee

One must ask why the majority of the Board must travel to Atlanta at their own expense if they want to have a voice in the selection of the new Executive VP and CEO. They should have been heard from the very beginning as well as have been involved in the actual selection of the search committee. That they were not is another indication that the Old Guard aka the Cabal wants to maintain the status quo despite the jury in New York finding a breach of fiduciary duty. This presumably would include the continued employment of Bill Brewer and his firm.

Reading this email I was struck by the deference being paid to Charles Cotton and the past presidents of the NRA by the committee. They will be given a special opportunity on April 13th to make their voices be heard on the selection of the replacement for Wayne LaPierre. When Barr speaks of the “unique perspectives” of past presidents I would wager house money that he is not speaking about Ollie North or Pete Brownell. Rather he is referring to the Marion Hammers and others of the long-time “friends of Wayne” that allowed the problems currently facing the NRA to fester.

While it hasn’t been publicly mentioned, I have heard rumors that some of the Cabal are seeking bylaw changes that would exclude certain candidates from being considered. This would include the exclusion of former ILA General Counsel and Deputy Director Wade Callender who has the support of a number of GOP attorneys general as well as some on the Board itself. The rationale for keeping Callender out of the running for EVP is that he would be a change agent. The Old Guard’s desire is to keep everything as it is with them in charge regardless of how disastrous it is to the future of the NRA.

Rigging of the bylaws to exclude anyone should be a non-starter. It certainly is not in the interest of the members of the NRA which should be the primary consideration of this committee as well as the Board. However, what is in the interest of the members rarely seems to be given much consideration.

UPDATE: NRA In Danger has some very interesting comments on this meeting. Moreover, he (or she) notes that when the Legal Affairs Committee recently met in Fairfax they, too, had invited Board members to attend – at their own expense. They were there to hear from Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, on how things went at the New York trial. One must wonder if anyone bothered to ask them how much it all cost and what the NRA was getting for its money.

I like the appeal for a reincarnated Harlon (Carter) and Neal (Knox) to return and lead the organization. Oh, how the Friends of Wayne would be howling like banshees if that were to occur!

Read the whole post!

More Thoughts On NRA EVP Search Committee

Since my post yesterday on Marion Hammer’s letter to the NRA-EVP search committee, I’ve received a copy of Charles Cotton’s announcement of the search committee and have spoken with others including a former board member.

Two hours before Marion Hammer’s email went out, NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer sent this to the entire Board of Directors:

Dear Fellow NRA Board Members:

At the request of several NRA board members, during our last board meeting in January, I noted that we would soon form a search committee to assist with the recruiting and placement of a new EVP and CEO of the National Rifle Association of America.

In accordance with NRA Bylaws, I am pleased to announce the creation of this select committee, the EVP Search Committee. This Committee is charged with determining the process and timing of the selection of appropriate candidates to present to the Nominating Committee and, ultimately, the full Board of Directors.

The members of the EVP Search Committee are:

Congressman Bob Barr – Chairman
Professor David Coy
Carol Frampton, Esq.
Curtis Jenkins, Esq.
Sheriff Jay Printz
Barbara Rumpel
Chief Blaine Wade

Please join me in expressing our gratitude to our fellow Board Members for their dedication to the NRA and their willingness to serve in this important role.

Respectfully,


Charles L. Cotton
NRA President

Two things stand out in Cotton’s letter. First, this committee will control the process and timing of the selection of candidates for the permanent CEO and Executive VP position. Second, any person or persons selected will go to the Nominating Committee before being presented to the Board of Directors. In other words, while officially the Board selects the EVP, the Nominating Committee will select the actual candidate and present the Board with a fait accompli.

This committee is a selection of people that will represent the interests of what I call the Old Guard or my friend calls “the cabal”. You have David Coy who failed in his fiduciary duties as a member of the Audit Committee. We might not have a trial in New York if he and others had done their job properly. You have Jay Printz who, at least through last September, was a stout defender of Wayne LaPierre. You have Barbara Rumpel whose primary connection to the Second Amendment seems to be as a “Friend of Susan”. None of these people are change agents.

Reevaluating Marion’s email to this committee barely two hours after it was announced, it is evident that she is telling them that NRA staff such as Interim EVP Andrew Arulanadam and CFO Sonya Rowling are non-starters as candidates for the permanent EVP position. When she says, “reach out to Board members for information and advice”, she means listen to her and the Old Guard or Cabal on what constitutes an acceptable candidate. Her call to be “transparent” with the Board doesn’t really mean transparency for all but rather the committee should report each and every move to her and the Old Guard before they actually make it.

Going back to Marion’s original call for a search committee, in retrospect she was not calling out Charles Cotton but rather telling him what she and the Old Guard wanted. She wanted a search committee comprised of Board members responsive to the Old Guard. She was providing cover for Cotton to seemingly be responsive to the call for a search committee while keeping it under his and the Old Guard’s tight grip.

Contrast this with what was suggested by Buz Mills. He called for a search committee of Board members with business experience selected from the floor by the BOD. This group would then use the services of an outside executive search agency to recruit, evaluate, and screen suitable candidates. In other words, they would find people capable of running a large non-profit whose values were consistent with fighting for Second Amendment rights. This might be someone like a Mike Fifer who ran Sturm, Ruger for many years as CEO. The search committee would then present the candidates to the Board for a “meet and greet”. I have seen this many times in academia when a new dean or college president is being selected. You will notice there is not mention of interference by the Nominating Committee in the process. The Board as a whole would discuss the candidates and then vote on them. This would take it out of the hands of the Old Guard or Cabal and put it in the hands of the entire Board.

I don’t know the timetable for a selection. Would it be in time for the next Board meeting? Or would a candidate be selected before Judge Cohen could impose a special monitor assuming the jury finds the NRA failed in its duties to its members? Speed would be in the interest of Charles Cotton and the Cabal. Speed, like this whole committee, would not be in the interests of the members of the NRA. That would be served by the Buz Mills’ model of finding a new EVP.

To throw one more wrinkle into this, given the precarious state of the NRA’s finances it may be up to a bankruptcy judge to make the decision on an interim basis. You have to ask why did former President Trump make his speech at the Great American Outdoor Show instead of at the Annual Meeting in May. I’m sure Mr. Trump would not want to be making his speech to the NRA faithful while the organization was in the midst of a bankruptcy trial.

Marion Calls For A Search Committee To Replace Wayne

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard that Marion Hammer was agreeing with Buz Mills regarding setting up a search committee to find the permanent Executive Vice President and CEO for the NRA. I had assumed – wrongly it seems – that she was in the camp pushing Charles Cotton to be the EVP/CEO for the next few years. Something along the lines of “a steady hand on the rudder” as the NRA transitions away from the Wayne era.

This is her email sent to the Board today:

It has come to my attention that another NRA BOD Member is making phone calls trying to gain support for yet another NRA BOD Member to take Wayne’s job.

Please, please, stop and think about this.  I personally believe we need a dedicated Search Committee to find someone who is actually qualified to take the helm at NRA.  

Any member of the Board who thinks he or she is qualified for the position can submit his or her name to a Search Committee to be vetted along with other candidates.

This is a turning point for NRA and a time when we need the most qualified, dedicated person we can find to lead NRA and lead the fight to save Second Amendment rights.

The NRA President can appoint a Search Committee at any time and I believe should do so immediately.  Search Committee members can be confirmed or rejected and replaced by the Board of Directors at it’s next meeting.

Please, this is a critical point for us and the future of NRA and it’s members is in our hands.  Let’s do it right.  Under our By-Laws we have a process to fill the EVP position on an interim basis while we search for the right person.

Please do not be stampeded into anything.

I know that there are a significant number of Board Members who agree that we need a Search Committee because they have told me so.  And, I also know that previously another Board Member has emailed you suggesting a Search Committee.  And while that particular Board Member and I rarely ever agree on what’s best for NRA, this time we happen to agree that we need a Search Committee.

Marion P. Hammer

Marion’s letter may also be seen as a way to head off those who are supporting Wade Callender to be the EVP/CEO such as Texas AG Ken Paxton, Utah AG Sean Reyes, and board member Rick Ector. However, while it is probably not her intent, I do think it could work in his favor as an honest Search Committee would have to consider him a candidate.

I think the person most disappointed about this letter beyond Charles Cotton has to be Bill Brewer. I got the feeling that Brewer was hoping to maintain the cozy relationship between the leadership and himself so as to keep the money flowing to his firm.

Buz Mills’ Letter To The NRA Board

Owen “Buz” Mills is the owner of the renowned training facility Gunsite Academy and has been a member of the NRA Board of Directors for many years. He has called for change in the past and continues that with his letter to the NRA Board of Directors below. This letter was sent out yesterday and I do have permission to publish it. To put it bluntly, Mills pulls no punches in calling out the shenanigans of the Old Guard in pushing Charles Cotton as the next Executive VP and CEP of the NRA.

TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

So, now we are all looking towards New York and Justice Cohen’s courtroom. Our attention is diverted here while chicanery continues in Fairfax.

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is at a watershed moment in its 153rd year. Our leadership has admitted in courts and depositions to misappropriation of donor’s funds and unauthorized use of assets. They have admitted condoning the misuse of donor funds by others employed by the NRA. The leadership has for years abused their position and trust placed in them by our members and benefactors. The Board of Directors (BOD) is solely responsible for this victimization of the members.

Thanks to the New York Attorney General, we are halfway to fixing our organization, bringing the NRA  up to par with other non-profit special interest groups.

The judge will hold the victimizers responsible, and they will have to account for their deeds.

Meanwhile, in Fairfax the selected leadership is scheming to continue the abuse suffered over the last few decades instead of following the bylaws for the succession of the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer (EVP). The selected leadership wants a special election to install the enabler and facilitator of all the previous chicanery. None other than our duly selected President, he is the man more responsible than any other for permitting our selected leadership to rampantly run roughshod over our membership and benefactors.

As the chair of the Audit Committee for many years, Charles Cotton was responsible for holding our employees accountable and ensuring their conduct beyond reproach. Our chair and “moral compass” approved every single act of malfeasance brought to the committee for decades, multiple acts approved retroactively, months and years after the fact.

When restitution was mandated, a bonus was awarded the miscreants including enough money to pay the restitution. This bonus also included enough for the miscreant to have the cash to pay the taxes on his misappropriation. Talk about rewarding bad behavior!! 

Again, I emphasize, it was not miscreant’s money, and it was not the facilitator’s money! It was the MONEY OF OUR MEMBERS and the MONEY provided by the BENEVOLENCE OF OUR DONORS. There is something deeply wrong when you continually permit and encourage this serial abuse.

Also do not forget spearheading the deceit and lying to us about filing bankruptcy that the judge called “a fraud.”  The BOD was never advised we needed to file for bankruptcy, nor was it ever justified to the board. We read it in the papers.

As we violate the bylaws again – accepting, justifying, and participating in some kind of sham election to make the selected president our EVP.

Is the principal facilitator of the misappropriation of tens of millions of dollars (members and donors’ money) causing the hundreds of millions of dollars of legal fees (again members and donors’ money) really have any business with access to the treasury?

Does he have any right to represent any moral, honest person or organization?

NO!

The normal, conventional way this type of business is conducted:

  1. Select a search committee of business professionals from the BOD, selected from the floor by the BOD,
  2. Retain professional employment agencies to recruit, screen and interview potential candidates,
  3. Committee shall interview candidates,
  4. BOD meet and greet,
  5. BOD votes to select a candidate,
  6. Committee sets forth terms and conditions of employment contract.

Now we have a professional to run the business of a world-class organization, in accordance with applicable laws, customs and traditions. Oversight will be provided by a professional BOD congruent with the by-laws in effect prior to ceding all monetary responsibility to the EVP. (circa 2015)

Next we hire a celebrity “FACE” of the NRA as a spokesperson with no access to funds. Using a similar process as finding an EVP.

This is how a professional Board of Directors of a world class not-for-profit begins to heal itself.

We have an opportunity to carefully choose to correct the path we are on. We have the opportunity to recover all of the membership that has abandoned us over these issues (2 million members +/-). We have the opportunity to recover the trust of our most benevolent donors. We have an opportunity to recover the respect of our industry and of the American people. There is no downside to doing this correctly.

Let’s not squander this opportunity, we must move forward smartly and with all the courage of the champions of freedom.

Owen Buz Mills

Director

National Rifle Association of America

January 17, 2024