The NRA’s Famous Whiskers

November marks the time of year when many normally clean shaven men grow out a winter beard and or mustache. Additionally, the Movember foundation who’s goal is to “change the face of men’s health has also successfully promoted the growing of a mustache in November to bring awareness to several men’s health issues including cancer and suicide prevention.    


So before the month of Movember comes to a close let us take a moment to recognize the first president of the National Rifle Association, the mustachioed civil war general, U.S. Senator and governor of Rhode Island Ambrose Burnside.  


As significant as his accomplishments were, he became most famous for his outstanding and uniquely styled mustache and side whiskers which became known as  “sideburns” an anagram of his name Burnside.  As a Union general who experienced his fair share of defeats, he was known to say of the Union troops, “Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn”.   This statement reflected the recognition of the need for more modern rifle training leading to the opening of the first modern rifle range in Queens NY.  


How very very much has changed in a 150 years!  

NRA’s 2018 Form 990 For Reference

I have embedded the NRA’s most recent Form 990 below for reference. I received a copy of it today. It also has the New York State CHAR500 and other financial tables appended. It totals a bit over 100 pages.

I will be referring back to this page over the next few days as I dig into the Form 990.

NRA-2018-990 by jpr9954 on Scribd

Who Is The Real Enemy?

When you are in a war you always have to keep the end objective in mind. Is it merely to win the battle or ultimately to win the war? That seems to be the issue right now for the National Rifle Association.

The question for the NRA is who is the real enemy. Is it Ackerman McQueen or anti-rights groups like Brady United Against Gun Violence? It seems that this focus has eluded the outside attorneys for the NRA in their efforts to win the Federal lawsuit against AckMc.

The reply by the NRA filed with the US District Court in Dallas has given the anti-rights forces such as Brady, Media Matters, and others plenty of ammunition.

For example from a Brady email sent out night:

In more bad news for the NRA, newly uncovered court filings show that NRA executives themselves thought NRATV was blatantly racist. Yet they continued to let it air.

The timing is convenient: It’s been unearthed that the NRA opposed its own racist content only now that it’s in court against its longtime PR firm, Ackerman McQueen. 

This proves what we have long known: that the NRA will peddle any lie in order to protect its own interest — which is to sell more guns, no matter what the cost. But we’re calling them out. We won’t let them pretend they didn’t condone outright racism. They knew what they were selling.

And there is this from Media Matters:

The National Rifle Associated admitted in a legal filing that its former media operation NRATV was viewed by NRA leadership as racist and that the project’s programming “often became viewed as a dystopian cultural rant.” That is true, but the messaging at NRATV was largely indistinguishable from the racist paranoid rantings of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.

Michael Collins of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, may have thought including that inflammatory condemnation of NRATV in his court filings was wise. His goal after all is to savage AckMac so as to win this case.

I disagree.

Our blood enemies are those who would deprive us of our God-given rights to an armed self-defense. They will use anything and everything against us. Since much of their strategy involves using propaganda, the use of ill-chosen words that can come back to haunt us is self-defeating. We need to be smarter and we should demand that attorneys for Second Amendment organizations likewise be smarter.

The NRA and outside counsel Michael Collins should have remembered Napoleon’s advice – “when the enemy is making a false movement we must take good care not to interrupt him.” They have just given our blood enemies that “false movement”.

Kudos To The NRA On Adaptive Shooter Database

If you have read this blog over the years, you know I am both a Endowment Life Member of the NRA and a critic of some of the stupid things they have done. Here is one thing that they are doing that is commendable and needs more publicity.

The NRA has created a database of the best products, services, and training meant for disabled shooters. It is part of the NRA’s Adaptive Shooter Program.

From the NRA:

“People of all ability levels are heading into the outdoors to take part in the shooting sports at impressive levels,” said Dr. Joe Logar, national manager of NRA’s Adaptive Shooting Programs. “This database provides a one-stop resource to ensure they can make the most out of those experiences.”


The Adaptive Product Providers database is available on the NRA Adaptive Shooting Programs website under the Resources tab. There users will find organizations with products and services that make the outdoors and the shooting sports more accessible to people with disabilities. Featured outfits range from companies selling devices that make loading pistol magazines easier to all-terrain wheelchairs to take hunters anywhere wild game may go.


“Helping people find their way back to the outdoors is incredibly rewarding,” Dr. Logar said. “Hopefully this database will make that journey a little bit easier.”

USCCA Fined By Washington State

The United States Concealed Carry Association was fined $100,000 by the Washington State Department of Insurance. The violation was “selling unauthorized insurance that illegally covers defense costs for criminal shootings. ” USCCA also agreed to pay “$5,457 in unpaid premium taxes, penalties and interest. “

In a press release dated October 21st, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler (D-WA) said:

“We made two things very clear to USCCA,” Kreidler said. “Insurers must be authorized to sell in our state, and policies can’t cover illegal activity. These law violations are fixable, if the company wishes to do business in Washington state.”

USCCA and other such plans only cover you for viable self-defense incidents and not “illegal activity”. Even though USCCA made this perfectly clear, the Department of Insurance contended that there was no mechanism to reclaim payments made to members who were later convicted of a crime.

Anti-gunners love to talk about “loopholes”. The only loophole I see here is one that allows bureaucrats to make regulations out of whole cloth.

On the authorization issue, Washington is probably correct. Selling insurance in a state does require a license from each individual state and the District of Columbia.

Kreidler’s press release notes that USCCA could possibly still do business in the state.

USCCA could sell insurance legally in Washington by changing its policies to not insure criminal activity, and either becoming a registered insurer or by placing insurance business through surplus lines brokers.

Earlier in the year, Kreidler and the Department of Insurance went after the NRA’s Carry Guard program.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler today banned the sale of illegal insurance policies branded by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and will fine two companies involved in underwriting and selling them in Washington state. 


Kreidler ordered Illinois Union Insurance Co. to stop underwriting the policies, branded under the NRA as self-defense policies. They are illegal in Washington state because they insure unlawful activity. 


Kreidler also seeks to fine the company $102,000 for selling 811 of the illegal policies to Washington state consumers. 


Kreidler also seeks to fine Lockton Affinity L.L.C. $75,000. Lockton Affinity is the licensed insurance producer that sold the illegal policies on behalf of the NRA.  


“When it comes to insurance products associated with the NRA, it’s buyer beware,” Kreidler said. “The attempt to insure a criminal act is a rip-off for consumers. The policies sold are deceptive and dishonest. I would be remiss as the state’s insurance regulator if I didn’t shut them down.”

Kreidler, 76, is in his fifth term as insurance commissioner. He is an optometrist by training. He served 16 years in the Washington House and Senate as well as one term in Congress. He lost re-election in 1994 after voting for the Clinton “assault weapons ban”.

Grassley Tells IRS To Ignore Calls For Russia-NRA Probe

The Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee issued a staff report in September calling on the IRS to investigate the NRA over a trip to Russia. They want the IRS to pull the NRA’s 503(c)(4) tax designation. The Senate Finance Committee minority members even called the NRA a “foreign asset”.

Yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley fired back in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. He characterized the Democrats’ efforts to get the IRS to investigate the NRA as “partisan” request. He said that the IRS ” is not a political weapon, and it should not be used as such. “

Sen. Grassley goes on to note:

The Minority report focuses on certain NRA personnel who traveled to Russia in December 2015 for a goodwill trip. After reviewing nearly identical evidence as the Minority staff at great length, it was clear to the Majority staff that nothing in those documents reasonably raises questions about whether the NRA should maintain its tax-exempt status under the tax code. Indeed, rather than present a careful and serious analysis, the Minority staff report offers incendiary conclusions unsupported by paragraphs full of belabored references to behavior that “raises serious” but undefined “concerns.” Even the cover of the Minority staff report deems the NRA a “Russian asset,” while nothing in the text of the actual report ever does more than editorialize to that effect.

He recalls the efforts of Obama Administration to politicize the Internal Revenue Service with some sadness.

Moreover, the IRS should never investigate taxpayers as a result of potential political motives. It is critical for the administration of our tax system that the IRS remain ideologically neutral when it comes to enforcing the tax code, and it is just as critical that taxpayers all throughout the United States know and believe this to be true. This decade has already seen the IRS involved in enough controversy around politically-motived tax enforcement, and the IRS should strive mightily to avoid such episodes in the future. As you are well aware, in May 2013 a scandal engulfed the IRS with its partisan enforcement of applications for tax-exempt status under Sec. 50I(c)(4) of the tax code, as led by Ms. Lois Lerner. Sadly, that scandal may have been precipitated by partisan requests for the IRS to investigate its perceived political opponents. This was a tragic episode in the IRS’ history and it must not happen again.

Grassley goes on to conclude that the IRS does important work. However, he warns that if the IRS is to retain its legitimacy with the American people, it must not “biased against them based on the exercise of their constitutional rights.”

He is right. The only way the IRS can ultimately get compliance with tax laws is voluntary compliance. If it is seen as a punitive tool by the Democrats – or the Republicans – it loses any sort of legitimacy and with that compliance. There are not enough IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents to compel compliance if the American people as a whole say, “I will not comply.”

One Way To Shore Up The NRA’s Balance Sheet

Mark Allendorf had a letter to the editor published in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle. The short letter shown below urges anti-gun activists to join the NRA. He is of the opinion that it can be taken over from within.

If gun-control activists want to make a real impact, then I suggest that they join the National Rifle Association en masse and change the organization from within. Nothing else seems to work, so if you can’t beat them, then join the terrorists and convert them into a responsible organization that will support reasonable gun-control laws.


A yearly membership is $45. Surely there are hundreds of thousands of energized gun-control supporters who could invest the time and money needed to do the job, one that will cost a lot less than buying Congress, which the NRA has already done.

Mr. Allendorf has a profound ignorance of the organization’s bylaws.

To be able to vote on directors and bylaw changes you must, as most of my readers know, be either in one of the classes of Life Members or be a five year continuous annual member. You have to wonder how many of these anti-rights activists are willing to stick around every year for five years. I’d wager not that many.

Let’s say 200,000 ignorant anti-rights activists are energized by Mr. Allendorf’s call to action and actually pay the $45 to join as an annual member. Don’t you think both Wayne LaPierre and CFO Craig Spray would welcome that additional $9 million in membership dues? Of course they would!

The sad thing is that the NRA has already been taken over from within.

Through a mixture of bylaw changes, ignorance, inertia, and questionable actions, any pretense of member control was killed long ago. You have a board that answers to hired help. The Old Guard is showing no signs of any willingness to reform.

Reform will eventually come. It will come as a result of the New York Attorney General’s actions. Alternatively, it can come if enough voting members say enough. I know which alternative I prefer.

Someone Is Going Under The Bus

The New York Times ran a story by Danny Hakim regarding the financing of the “Russia trip”. It appeared in Thursday’s paper. The “Russia trip” was a visit to Moscow organized by Maria Butina. It was attended by former NRA President David Keene, then-1st VP Pete Brownell, Sheriff David Clarke, and some other board members. The trip was for the purpose of building stronger ties between the NRA and gun-rights supporters in Russia.

The financing of the trip has been of interest to both Congressional investigators and to NY Attorney General Letitia James. There have been a complicated series of personal checks and reimbursements which has attracted their attention. According to the article, the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III has asserted in internal presentations that “those involved had exposed themselves to wire fraud charges.” Other attorneys disagreed with this assertion.

Brewer is also asserting that Wayne LaPierre was opposed to the trip. This, however, is contradicted by emails from the time which marked trip-related invoices as “Wayne approved”.

While the whole financing issue is of interest to investigators, it is what is buried in this story that caught my attention. In other words, the story within the story. It concerns the bureaucratic infighting between some of LaPierre’s closest associates.

The invoices for the trip were overseen by LaPierre’s closest aide Millie Hallow.

The 2016 transactions were overseen by Millie Hallow, an aide to Mr. LaPierre, according to emails. In one February 2016 email, Ms. Butina sent an invoice directly to Ms. Hallow for “Hosting of NRA leadership group for six days in Moscow,” according to the document, and thanked her “for your invaluable advice these past few months.”

In a May 26 email that year, Ms. Hallow told other N.R.A. officials that an invoice related to the trip submitted by Mr. Brownell’s company, the firearms retailer Brownells, had been authorized: “Wayne approved these special projects involving Outreach that Brownell has done,” she wrote.

Now it appears that Josh Powell, Chief of Staff to LaPierre, is trying to throw Millie under the bus.

On Thursday, Josh Powell, the N.R.A.’s chief of staff, said in a statement that “in order to facilitate the transfer of funds to Brownell, Millie falsely stated that Wayne approved of certain expenses when he had not. In fact, Millie apologized to me (and others) later for the misrepresentation.”

You may remember that in late July I did a blog post regarding Millie Hallow. It detailed how she had been convicted of felony embezzlement while directing the DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities. My impression was that had been kept a closely guarded secret. I had NRA board members tell me they didn’t know Ms. Hallow was a convicted felon until that post was published.

It now appears that someone wants that information in the public domain.

But Ms. Hallow is one of Ms. LaPierre’s closest aides, and raising questions about her credibility comes at an inopportune time. The N.R.A. is relying on her word in its battle with Oliver North, the organization’s former president, who stepped down this year shortly after making a call to Ms. Hallow that N.R.A. officials described as threatening toward Mr. LaPierre. Ms. Hallow also once pleaded guilty to a felony related to the theft of money from an arts agency she ran in Washington. (emphasis mine)

It would be interesting to know which one of Hakim’s sources pointed that out to him. It does serve the purposes of Josh Powell but the question remains whether he is smart enough to made use of it. I don’t see it serving the purpose of Brewer as he needs her to be a credible witness against Ollie North. That is, unless it is more important to protect LaPierre in the Russia investigation than it is to continue the fight against Ollie North. If that is the case then there is a lot more substance to this whole Russia fiasco than we previously thought and it is a lot more dangerous to the personal fortune of LaPierre. Time will tell.

Only In San Francisco

Only in San Francisco do you have widespread defecation on the streets.

Only in San Francisco do you have a five-time deported illegal alien found innocent of murder.

Only in San Francisco are convicted felons now called “justice-involved persons.”

Only in San Francisco do you have an organization dedicated to the advancement of an enumerated civil right declared a “domestic terrorist organization.”

Say what? The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution yesterday that brands the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization”.

The resolution was sponsored by Supervisor Catherine Stefani (D-SF). She is an attorney, former prosecutor, and, according to her official bio, a “leader and spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” Gee, no conflict of interest there, is there?

Catherine Stefani, Official SFBOS Picture

Reading the resolution is like reading some bizarre alternate reality short story. It claims that the NRA “incites gun owners to acts of violence” among other things. It goes on to claim that the NRA, by being advocates for gun rights, have armed those who have committed acts of terrorism.

You can read the whole thing at this link. Try not to gag when reading it.