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.


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.

I Actually Agree With Marion On This

As weird as it may seem I find myself somewhat in agreement with Marion Hammer. I was forwarded an email from her to the NRA-EVP Search Committee.

She made the point that the committee needs to look outside the current NRA operations for the person that can be a success as the next CEO and EVP of the NRA.

Here is her email and the members of the committee:

TO: The Members of the NRA-EVP Search Committee:

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


At the risk of being redundant, I must say that these are tough times for the NRA.  The right leader or leaders is essential for NRA’s future.  I say leaders because I’m not sure that you can find one person who can do the job.  

You might need someone to be the public face of NRA. To do the TV and all media coverage and essentially be the person out front representing NRA and the work we do.

You also might need to find someone to be the workhorse.  Someone to make the tough decisions about running the day to day operations who won’t be afraid to “break some eggs to make an omelet”  and who isn’t afraid to terminate people who are only interested in themselves and not the NRA and our cause.

I seriously doubt that anyone currently involved with NRA operations meets either need.  Don’t be afraid to look outside of NRA for fresh new leaders who care about NRA.  Our members are depending on you to find the right person or persons.

When I look at you, I see 2 current NRA Officers, 2 lawyers, 2 law enforcement representatives and one average person.  None of you is what I would consider a high end business person, yet we must look at the business perspective.   

Whatever you decide, Is up to you.  I wouldn’t want to be in your position with the world watching me and expecting perfection.  Nonetheless, you must live in a “fishbowl” until the job is done, and then you must live with your decisions.

Please take your time and be thorough. Please be transparent with the NRA Board and don’t be afraid to reach out to Board members for information and advice. Always remember that there are good business people with incredible business knowledge on the Board who are there to serve.  Use them.   

I wish you all the very best of luck as you embark on a mission that is essential for the future of NRA and our members.  

Marion Hammer

Now as to what bothers me in all of this.

The committee is composed of the same old Board members who allowed Wayne to get away with his grifting, who didn’t object to Brewer’s billing, and who allowed a whole host of things that has led the NRA to be reduced to a shadow of its former self. Unless I am greatly mistaken and we the members get really lucky, anyone chosen by this bunch will not renovate nor reinvigorate the NRA. The organization will continue to muddle along with same old mindset appealing to an ever aging membership.

Interesting that Buz Mills was left off the list. Likewise, it is interesting Charles Cotton is off the list. Could this be so that Cotton could be their pick for the next EVP? God forbid!

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.

Who Is Not On The Witness Lists

NRA In Danger had a post yesterday on the pre-trial disclosure, witness lists, and exhibits in the NRA’s trial in New York. It appears that all parties with the exception of Josh Powell have produced witness lists and exhibits. Some such as Woody Phillips and John Frazer have relatively short witness lists. For example, Mr. Phillips only lists himself as a witness. By contrast, the witness lists for both the State of New York and the NRA are quite extensive. I have embedded the State of New York’s list as it includes both their witnesses as well as those of the defendants along with estimated time for cross-examination.


I will leave it to NRA In Danger to go into more detail on the pretrial disclosures. What I’d like to point out is who is not on the list.

First, there is Joe DeBergalis who has served for a number of more recent years as the Executive Director of General Operations. One of the issues brought up in the New York Attorney General’s case against the NRA is how “troublesome” people are pushed out. Given he was replaced just this past week, I would have thought he would be an obvious person from who to require testimony. However, both his replacement Andrew Arulanandam and his executive assistant Lisa Supernaugh are on the list for a combined 3.5 hours of questioning plus another 45 minutes of cross-examination.

Next, I am surprised that former NRA Managing Director of Tax and Risk Management Emily Cummins is not on the witness list. She spent over 12 years at the NRA dealing with tax, compliance, and risk management issues. She had raised questions regarding billing by Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, which became public in 2019. She resigned under pressure from Bill Brewer and his alleged “burn books”. Ms. Cummins has a reputation as an ethical person who actually believed in the mission of the NRA and was greatly concerned over questionable expenditures.

Finally, how can you talk about dysfunction in the Board, sweetheart deals, and friends of Wayne without including Marion Hammer. A friend pointed out to me last night Marion would have been an incredibly hostile witness if called by the New York AG. Heck, she is hostile even on her good days! I can see Bill Brewer making the decision to keep Marion under wraps as she knew too much, helped Wayne too much, and got too much. It is obviously a case of letting sleeping dogs lie or in Marion’s case, cat ladies.

I know New York does not televise court proceedings. That is a shame as watching this trial would have been interesting. Indeed, New York could have made it a pay per view and I’m sure they would been able to offset some of their budget deficits.

Marion Hammer Retires As Lobbyist (Updated)

Marion Hammer is retiring from her role as a lobbyist for the NRA in Florida. I presume that means she is also stepping down as Executive Director of the United Sportsmen of Florida. She has held this position for 44 years.

But don’t cry for Marion yet.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Marion Hammer, who became a nationally recognized institution of gun politics in Florida, is retiring after four decades working as a state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.

Instead, Hammer will serve as an adviser to the NRA, focused on gun advocacy beyond just Florida, according to a Thursday statement from the NRA.

For her service as an “adviser to the NRA”, Marion received $270,000 in 2021. This is according the Report of the Secretary given out at the 2022 Meeting of Members in Houston on May 28th. The payment was classified as “consulting expenses”. The minutes from the NRA’s 2021 Annual Meeting held in Charlotte, NC said this was for “issues affecting the NRA in jurisdictions other than Florida.”

It is my understanding that Marion has a 10-year contract with the NRA for “consulting services”.

Regarding his chief defender and enforcer, Wayne LaPierre had this to say.

“Marion Hammer’s name has become synonymous with the Second Amendment and with the NRA,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the NRA. “She is a dynamic and legendary advocate who has led the way with many laws that started in Florida and then served as a blueprint across the country.”

I will grant you that Marion had some big successes including stand your ground and shall-issue carry permits. She has also had some major failures.

Again, from the Tampa Bay Times:

Following the Parkland shooting that killed 17, the Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott moved a bill that raised the minimum age for gun purchases, banned bump stocks and instilled a waiting period for gun purchase, provisions Hammer opposed.

I might also note that open carry is illegal in Florida with limited exceptions.

If I come across as a little cynical regarding Marion Hammer, it is because I am. She has opposed all moves to reform the NRA, she refers to reformers as “the enemy within”, and her chief job lately seems to be as the enforcer cracking the whip to keep most of the NRA Board in line with Wayne’s wishes. I see continuing payments to her as a payoff for protecting Wayne from being ousted in the 1990s and for continuing those efforts throughout the years.

UPDATE: Attached below is the release that the NRA sent out announcing Marion’s retirement as a lobbyist.


Comment Of The Day

The comment of the day comes from David Codrea. He, too, took note of the esteemed Marion Hammer’s comments regarding NRA members that I highlighted yesterday.

So they should have pushed ‘shine Club instead of Wine Club? But keep sending money because we know how to be sophisticated with it!

Think of the NRA ‘shine Club. They could have offered sampler packs of ‘shine from renowned moonshiners like Popcorn Sutton, Tim Smith, and Junior Johnson. At least two of those three actually make or made legal ‘shine.

I tend to agree with the rest of David’s post where he speculates that the recording could only have come from an insider and that Wayne and Company are fully aware of who it is. Read the rest of his post and watch the video. It is worth it.

Why Does Marion Hate Appalachian-Americans?

You probably have read in the past former NRA President Marion Hammer’s warning about the “enemies within” and how they are going to destroy the NRA.

I always assumed she meant those of us who opposed her gravy train and board candidates or members who would not toe the party line.

Evidently I was wrong.

Thanks to a secret tape recording obtained by NPR of NRA officials talking about a response to the Columbine murders, Marion actually meant Appalachian-Americans. The more colloquial term for us – and I consider myself one – is “hillbilly”.

From the story:

“You know, the other problem is holding a member meeting without an exhibit hall. The people you are most likely to get in that member meeting without an exhibit hall are the nuts,” says LaPierre.

“Made that point earlier. I agree,” says Makris. “The fruitcakes are going to show up.”

Says Hammer: “If you pull down the exhibit hall, that’s not going to leave anything for the media except the members meeting, and you’re going to have the wackos … with all kinds of crazy resolutions, with all kinds of, of dressing like a bunch of hillbillies and idiots. And, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna be the worst thing you can imagine.”

So Wayne thinks those attending the Meeting of Members are “the nuts”, his former-BFF Tony Makris thinks they are “fruitcakes”, and dear old Marion refers to these dedicated members as “wackos”, “hillbillies”, and “idiots”.

Listen for yourself:

It is discouraging to know that the powers that be at the NRA think so little of their own members. If only more voting members would come to this understanding and actually vote, we might be rid of these parasites. In the meantime, it sucks that we have to put our hopes in the Attorney General of New York having some limited success in her lawsuit.

Lipstick On A Pig

A missive went out yesterday afternoon to NRA members from Wayne LaPierre saying all is well. I didn’t receive it but the Complementary Spouse did. I must be on the Marion Hammer-Willes Lee “enemies within“haters” list since I didn’t receive it despite being an Endowment Life member.

The Complementary Spouse who is not given to invective called it a “crock of shit” after reading it.

Whether it is cherry-picking what Judge Hale actually said or asserting that the decision had no impact “on our staffing, programs or Second Amendment advocacy”, you have to wonder. You have to wonder if they think the great majority of us are so gullible that we will accept this nonsense as the gospel truth. You have to wonder in what alternate universe Wayne and his board supporters live in if they think the NRA is “strong and secure.”

There is one line in which I agree 100%. The second paragraph starts, “Over the past month, we did it again.”

If by did it again, you meant that you gave Bill Brewer and his firm millions of dollars for shady legal advice and are worse off for it, I’d agree. The “Mental Experiment” speculation of the blog NRA In Danger makes a plausible case that Bill Brewer’s ultimate goal is to destroy the NRA and get rich by doing it. I think a strong case can be made that the NRA’s downward trend started the moment that Bill Brewer whispered in Wayne’s ear, “I can keep you out of prison.”

If you didn’t get the letter or have let your membership lapse out of disgust, I have printed it below.

Dear NRA Members,

In my more than 40 years with the NRA, we’ve taken part in some bruising fights to defend our freedoms and our NRA. As they say, nothing worth having comes easy.

Over the past month, we did it again. The NRA took center stage in the fight for our reorganization in federal court in Dallas. Although our case for reorganization was dismissed on May 11, there are many positive developments that bode well for the Association and its plans for the future.

Strong and Secure

First and foremost, the legal decision has no impact on our staffing, programs or Second Amendment advocacy. All of our work continues and remains as vital as ever. We will continue to defend constitutional freedoms, promote firearms education, and advocate for and represent our members in all appropriate forums.

This outcome has no impact on all the divisions and affiliates associated with the NRA. Our programs, political activity, charitable endeavors, and Second Amendment advocacy all continue. We remain strong and secure.

Second, the New York Attorney General and others that aligned against the NRA in opposition to the NRA’s reorganization plan were unsuccessful in their effort to derail us. As you may have read, they sought to dismiss the NRA’s Chapter 11 reorganization filing with prejudice or, in the alternative, appointment of a court-appointed trustee. They wanted to see someone else take control of the Association’s business and financial affairs.

None of that happened. The court in Dallas did not appoint a trustee or impose any other form of oversight on the NRA. Instead, the court dismissed our reorganization filing without prejudice, meaning the NRA has the option to file a new case in the future if the need arises. Importantly, there was no financial watchdog (an examiner) appointed, as sought by some.

The enemies of the Association want to claim the NRA filing was in “bad faith” and the NRA should be assessed penalties. But, that’s not what the judge found. On May 14, the judge clarified that he did not hold that the NRA reorganization filing was in “bad faith.”

In summary, we are no longer in bankruptcy court in Dallas – and our mission moves forward.

Our leadership team remains intact. Those outcomes are far from the “doom and gloom” predicted by the so-called experts, many in the far-left media, and gun control advocates. Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper: we are not going anywhere. We’re fighting as hard as ever in defense of your freedoms.

Our plans are not finalized, but we remain committed to exploring a move of all or part of the NRA’s business operations to Texas – home to more than 400,000 NRA members. In fact, the court observed that we could still accomplish those goals outside of bankruptcy court. In other words, our business operations and plans for the future are not affected by these developments.

The Record Reflects: Committed to Good Governance

During a 12-day court hearing that occurred over approximately four weeks, the NRA established that it complies with board policies and accounting controls, displaced “insiders” who abused the Association, and accepted reimbursements for costs voluntarily determined to be excess benefits.

The hearing proceedings focused, in significant measure, on the NRA’s compliance efforts and the organization’s renewed commitment to good governance.

In an opinion, dated May 11, 2021, the Hon. Harlin D. Hale, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of Texas, wrote, “In short, the testimony…suggests that the NRA now understands the importance of compliance. Outside of bankruptcy, the NRA can pay its creditors, continue to fulfill its mission, continue to improve its governance and internal controls, contest dissolution in the NYAG Enforcement Action, and pursue the legal steps necessary to leave New York.”

Of course, very little of this was publicly reported.

As I told the media, the NRA remains committed to its members and our plan for the future. This fight is about our 5 million members – those who stand courageously with the NRA in defense of constitutional freedom.

Let this be clear: we are an organization that remains committed to its course, even as we confront our adversaries in New York and beyond. The NRA will keep fighting, as we’ve done for 150 years.

Confronting a Political Agenda – and Fighting for Freedom

That means the NRA continues to confront NYAG Letitia James in her attempt to dissolve the NRA.

The NYAG wants to close our doors as part of a lawsuit she filed on August 6, 2020. In summer 2018, then NYAG candidate James called the NRA a “criminal enterprise” and “terrorist organization.” Her subsequent pursuit of the NRA has been characterized by many legal experts and constitutional scholars as a gross weaponization of legal and regulatory power. Even the ACLU recognized that.

As several NRA board members noted, the record now establishes that NRA members can have great confidence in this institution and its plans for the future. We will work with members, vendors, and other supporters to continue the fight for freedom. And we will never shrink from the tough and principled stands we take on behalf of our law-abiding 5 million members.

It all comes down to protecting your constitutional freedoms. The NRA has never shied away from those fights. And I promise you, that’s a fight we’ll always take on.

Wayne Signature

Wayne LaPierre

Frank Tait and I were on the Armed Society Podcast last night discussing the bankruptcy dismissal. One thing that Frank brought up with regard to the NRA’s strategy over the years is that they have been playing defense as opposed to offense. We both agreed that we wanted a more pro-active NRA that ditched their “not invented here” mindset and that had a strategic plan to optimize what they do best such as training, competition, and Federal lobbying.

“She Works Hard For The Money”

The latest filings in the NRA’s bankruptcy case contain a treasure trove of information. This is especially true for the NRA’s statement of financial affairs. It goes well beyond a mere balance sheet and includes a complete list of payments and distributions to insiders. Insiders would be the officers of the NRA as well as all members of the Board of Directors.

Reading through the list, most of the payments are recruiter payments. While I might quibble on whether or not directors or their organizations should be compensated for bringing in new members, it is a relatively minor thing and the amount of money was not material (using an accounting term).

Bearing in mind that 2020 was a horrible year, financially and otherwise, for many people, there is one person who did rather well in 2020.

Marion Hammer.

Ms. Hammer received $246,500 in direct payments for “consulting services”. In addition, she received another $183,600 in indirect payments made to United Sportsmen of Florida for a “consulting agreement.” (See pages 53 and 54 of the NRA’s filing.)

As Donna Summer sang, “She works hard for the money.
So you better treat her right.”

Being Wayne LaPierre’s No. 1 defender and attack cat (she is a cat person) is hard work. He must have thought so which is why she got $430,100 of member’s money in an effort to treat her right.

NRA Secretary’s Report Or Who Got Rich On Members’ Dues

People elected to non-profit boards tend to be charged with raising money for the organization. Often, if it isn’t a direct membership organization, they are selected due to their deep pockets with an expectation that they will make substantial donations.

Then, there is the National Rifle Association where it seems some – and I emphasize it is only some – see service on the Board of Directors as a way to make money. As you can see from the embedded Secretary’s Report, some of the Directors were very well compensated.

NRA Secretary Report 2020 Annual Meeting by jpr9954 on Scribd

Looking over this list, the one payment I have the least objection to is paying Bart Skelton for articles published in NRA publications. He is a gun writer so that kind of makes sense.

For those listed as independent contractors – Dave Butz and Lance Olson – I would like to know what they did in exchange as “contractors”. Likewise, I can see paying David Keene’s travel and room expenses to speak at Friends of the NRA banquets but no other compensation should have been paid. He’s a Director and speaking at events should be part of the job.

The payments to Cole McCulloch for use of a shooting facility he owns is a clear conflict of interest. This would be especially true if he was involved in any way in selecting the site.

Finally, there is dear old Marion Hammer who would characterize me as the “enemy within” because I dare question her motives. You will notice it says she was paid for consulting services on issues “other than Florida”. This is because she failed to declare herself as a lobbyist for the NRA and ran afoul of Florida lobbying regulations.

Given that Florida raised the age for all firearms purchases to 21 and imposed red flag laws, I’m not sure gun owners in other states want to end up like Florida. Being the heretic that I am, I think Marion’s primary job is to keep Wayne LaPierre in power for which he makes sure she is well compensated.