NRA Releases 2019 Tax Filing

Non-profit organizations are required to release and make public their IRS Form 990 filings. The Form 990 is their equivalent of a corporate tax return. The submission is usually almost a year after the end of the prior year.

Today, the Washington Post reported that the NRA’s 2019 Form 990 was made public. It has some interesting admissions contained within it. I’m just going to hit the highlights and will post a link to the actual Form 990 so that you can examine it for yourself.

From the article by Beth Reinhard and Carol Leonnig:

The tax return, which The Washington Post obtained from the organization, says the NRA “became aware during 2019 of a significant diversion of its assets.” The 2019 filing states that LaPierre and five former executives received “excess benefits,” a term the IRS uses to describe executives’ enriching themselves at the expense of a nonprofit entity.

The disclosures in the tax return suggest that the organization is standing by its 71-year-old chief executive while continuing to pursue former executives of the group.The filing says that LaPierre “corrected” his financial lapses with a repayment and contends that former executives “improperly” used NRA funds or charged the nonprofit for expenses that were “not appropriate.”

LaPierre has reimbursed the organization nearly $300,000 in travel expenses covering 2015 to 2019, according to the tax return, which does not explain how that amount was determined or when LaPierre paid it.

As was reported in the Wall Street Journal in October, the Internal Revenue Service is supposedly investigating Wayne LaPierre for criminal tax fraud. There is a lot of speculation that this tax filing which was signed by Wayne himself was a way to mitigate the damage of that investigation.

Three tax and accounting experts who reviewed the 2019 tax return for The Post said the disclosures show the organization and LaPierre trying to take responsibility and avoid further legal jeopardy.

“This is the type of cleanup I would expect to see after a history of gross violations of nonprofit law,” said Philip Hackney, an associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh who worked at the IRS for five years until 2011 providing legal oversight of tax-exempt organizations.

LaPierre personally signed the 2019 tax return; such a document is customarily signed by the organization’s treasurer. “He is putting himself on the line, under penalties of perjury, which is what you do if you are trying to get in someone’s good graces,” Hackney said.

New York lawyer and expert on nonprofits Daniel Kurtz said, “It’s a smart move by the NRA instead of digging in their heels, though who knows how they came up with the numbers. It’s an admission of wrongdoing, for sure.”

It also appears that this Form 990 is also trying to throw a number of former NRA executives such as Chris Cox and David Lehman of ILA under the bus along with Oliver North. Josh Powell is also mentioned as having received previously unreported excess benefits. Some undisclosed directors are also mentioned as having traveled First Class without “authorization”.

Cox resigned in June 2019 after LaPierre accused him and North of orchestrating a coup — a claim they both denied. The tax return says the organization is seeking to recover more than $1 million it says Cox improperly received for travel, meals and tickets to sporting events.

Cox’s lawyer, Tom Buchanan, called the allegation “false” and said all of the lobbyist’s expenses during his 24 years with the NRA were reviewed and never questioned. Buchanan said also that Cox has provided the New York attorney general with “thousands of documents” and has not been implicated in her investigation.

North was ousted as NRA president last year after accusing LaPierre of spending recklessly on legal fees for Brewer’s firm. The new tax filing says the NRA has “reason to believe” North received excess salary that he failed to earn. North declined through his attorney to comment on the tax return.

North has previously argued that the NRA has falsely accused him of financial improprieties in retaliation for his cooperating as a key witness in the New York investigation, according to pleadings in New York State Court.

“In public, the NRA has said these allegations of misspending were completely unfounded, but these official filings present a picture that a lot of the claims made were accurate and the only question is who was at fault,” said Brian Mittendorf, an accounting professor at Ohio State University.

A quick glance at the Form 990 shows that overall revenues were down by over $60 million and the ongoing operating deficit was $12.2 million for the year. Mind you, this is for 2019 which was pre-pandemic.

There is a lot more there. Now is the time I wish I had taken more accounting classes.

NRA 2019 IRS Form 990 by jpr9954 on Scribd

The really interesting stuff starts at about page 77 and goes from there.

Stuff You Find When Looking For Something Else

I was reading a couple of articles about how an insignificant party attendee ended up getting doxxed in an article in the Washington Post. Her crime was to attend a party pretending to be Megyn Kelly in blackface – two years ago.

Now I’ve never worn blackface nor do I encourage it. That is, unless you are using black in conjunction with other colors for camo face paint in hunting. I still think a camo face mask is easier and certainly easier to remove.

Back to the subject at hand.

This got me to thinking of that old Southernism, “He needed killing.” It turns out that this was often called the “Texas Defense”. Despite that, there was no law in Texas or anywhere else I can find that allows the murder of someone because they were reprehensible human beings. Despite being called the Texas Defense, it actually originated with an 1870 Kentucky case dealing with self-defense. Dave Hardy covered that case in his Of Arms and the Law blog back in 2011.

All of this eventually led to Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary on the entry on Homicide. Published in 1906, it is available for free on the Internet thanks to the Gutenberg Project. If you haven’t read entries in it, you should.

HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homocide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another—the classification is for advantage of the lawyers.

As the Complementary Spouse would assure you, my mind sometimes does work like that. I start at Point A, meander a bit here and there, dawdle for a while on something totally irrelevant but interesting, and eventually end up at Point Z. It is like following links on the Internet where you keep following link after link until you remember what you were originally trying to find and you go back there.

If you are of a certain age, you may remember a Chicago newspaper columnist by the name of Sydney J. Harris. Long before there was an Internet, he would write about “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things.” It was full of interesting trivia. I can only imagine what he’d come up with now thanks to the Internet.

And that is how I got from some Social Justice Warriors thinking it was their duty to dox an ordinary person who then lost her job to “he needed killing” to good old Ambrose Bierce (and Sydney J. Harris).

NRA’s Josh Powell Placed On Administrative Leave (Updated)

Wayne LaPierre’s Chief of Staff Joshua Powell has been placed on administrative leave. This is according to court filings in one of the lawsuits involving the NRA and Ackerman McQueen in Virginia courts.

From the Washington Post:

A top National Rifle Association official has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the nonprofit group’s lawyer, according to a recent court filing, in a sign of ongoing turmoil surrounding the nation’s largest gun group.

The removal of Joshua L. Powell, the NRA’s chief of staff, was referenced in a Jan. 23 filing in Alexandria Circuit Court by the NRA’s former public relations agency, Ackerman McQueen. “Mr. Powell has now been placed ‘on leave’ by the NRA pending an investigation by NRA counsel,” the filing in Virginia says.

According to the story by Beth Reinhard, the NRA has not responded to multiple requests for comment. It is also unknown whether he is on paid or unpaid leave. His last reported compensation was $919,969 according to the 2018 NRA Form 990.

Powell also refused comment. The Post notes that he, ” removed “National Rifle Association Chief of Staff – Senior Strategist” from his Twitter bio this week.”

Powell has had a checkered history at the NRA. He was the one responsible for rushing CarryGuard out before it was ready when he served as Director of General Operations. He has also been named in sexual harassment allegations involving an Ackerman McQueen employee. It was serious enough that AckMac told Wayne LaPierre that they refused to work with Powell anymore.

As to why now and not earlier, that is unknown. Some have speculated he knew too much dirt and the powers that be wanted to keep him close. Powell has had a reputation according to some of looking out for himself above all else. If so, it would not have been unreasonable to suspect that he would cut a deal to save himself if it came to it.

Eventually we may know the full story. As for today, we know he is on administrative leave and that’s that.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rob Pincus, we have a photo of the filing in question. It is a filing by Ackerman McQueen asking the court to force the NRA to provide additional information regarding its interrogatories. As Powell is on administrative leave and “not in good standin”, his prior responses on behalf of the NRA under oath are no longer sufficient.

At Least His Heart Is In The Right Place

The Washington Post ran an article yesterday that discussed the monies that flowed to certain members of the Board of Directors. According to the article, 18 Board members received some sort of compensation over the past three years. Some of this is already well known such as the amount of money paid to Marion Hammer for lobbying in Florida. Some of it was merely the commission NRA recruiters earn for new members.

Without getting into the meat of the article, one quote just stuck out.

After learning about the money his fellow board members received, Malone
said he was concerned.

“If these allegations are correct and 18 board members received pay, you’re
damn right I am,” he said. “If it’s correct, the members who pay their dues
should be damn concerned, too.”

Karl Malone has never attended a board meeting and, to the best of my knowledge, has never even been sworn in as a Board member. Nonetheless, the Nominating Committee put him up for reelection and he was reelected in April to another three year term with the 16th highest vote total.

 Perhaps it is cynical of me to think that Mr. Malone’s concern is a bit late in the game. If he had bothered to attend meetings, he might have been aware of this and might have had an impact. Then again, he was selected for the Board of Directors due his celebrity status and not expected to have an actual impact on the running of the organization.

Well, at least his heart is in the right place which is more than I can say about certain other members of the board.

Would Internal Passports Be Next?

One of the things that has always distinguished the United States from the authoritarian countries of the world in that we have the freedom to travel anywhere and everywhere within the country – at will and without any required national documentation. We don’t have internal passports and we don’t have national ID cards.

However, our betters at Pravda on the Potomac (or the Washington Post, if you prefer) think we all should have a universal national ID card with biometric identifiers built into it. They propose this as a means to keep employers from hiring illegal aliens and as a means to deter illegal immigration.

An effective solution would be to issue tamper-proof, biometric ID cards
— using fingerprints or a comparably unique identifier — to all
citizens and legal residents. Last week, both President Obama and a bipartisan group of eight senators
seeking immigration reform urged something along those lines, without
calling it a universal national identity card. That’s a major step

The Post thinks this is more effective than securing the border. They also dismiss concerns held by civil libertarians.

Critics on both the civil-liberties left and the libertarian right have long resisted such cards as the embodiment of a Big Brother brand of government, omniscient, invasive and tentacular. Their criticisms ring hollow.

More than a third of Americans (35 percent) possess passports, up from just 6 percent 20 years ago — and all passports issued since 2007 contain chips that enable biometric use of facial recognition technology. The proliferation of passports for foreign travel has not encroached on Americans’ civil liberties. Why would another form of ID, used for employment verification, pose such a threat?

I’m surprised that the Post doesn’t argue that we need to be “chipped” just like your dog or cat. Wouldn’t that make it even easier to determine who is legally in the country or is a citizen?

As to the Post’s argument that a national ID card won’t encroach on our civil liberties and wouldn’t pose a threat, that’s BS. It is the height of control by the government. It is their key to our lives, our privacy, and our freedom.

I say thanks, but no thanks.

WaPo Notices Second Amendment Cases

Robert Barnes, writing in the Washington Post, recognizes that there are a number of Second Amendment cases working their way through the lower courts including two that have been appealed to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately he buys the Brady Campaign’s argument that Second Amendment cases have been continually losing in the lower courts since the Heller and McDonald decisions.

A funny thing has happened in the three years since gun-rights activists won their biggest victory at the Supreme Court.

They’ve been on a losing streak in the lower courts.

Barnes makes reference to the so-called report put out by the Brady Center in July titled “Hollow Victory?” In it, the Brady Center argues that the lower courts have held that “the Second Amendment does not interfere with the people’s right to enact legislation protecting families and communities from gun violence.”

Both Barnes and the Brady Center ignore the 7th Circuit’s decision in Ezell v. City of Chicago which was an unequivocal win for the Second Amendment and which may be the tool needed to get some sort of carry law passed in Illinois.

That said, the article does do a decent job of exploring two cases that might be granted certiorari by the Supreme Court. The cases are a Maryland case challenging a conviction for carrying or transporting with a permit and a Virginia case involving possession of a firearm in a National Park.

The Maryland case – Williams v. Maryland – is brought by Charles Williams who is contesting his 2008 conviction for violating Maryland’s law against wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm in public without a permit. He was traveling from his girlfriend’s house to his own with a legally purchased gun. However, he does acknowledge that he hadn’t applied for a permit. He is being represented by attorney Stephen Halbrook who contends that the Maryland law is so restrictive that “ordinary people” can’t get the permit. This, he says, clearly violates the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald. This case comes on appeal from the Maryland Court of Appeals which is that state’s highest court.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Sean Masciandaro was convicted and fined for having a loaded firearm in the trunk of his car on National Park Service property. While this has not been a crime since 2010, it was still prohibited when Mr. Masciandaro pulled off the George Washington Parkway to take a nap rather than fall asleep at the wheel of his car. Unfortunately, the GW Parkway runs through Theodore Roosevelt Island N.P. Moreover, when woken from his nap by park police because he was illegally parked, he answered honestly when asked if he had any more weapons than a knife that was in open view.

Masciandaro appealed his conviction to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals where it was upheld. He is now appealing to the Supreme Court. According to Supreme Court case filings, he filed an in forma pauperis petition and has been assigned a Federal Public Defender in the case. The Second Amendment Foundation has filed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Masciandaro that was written by Alan Gura.

The article concludes with a brief discussion of the conflicting views about the right to carry for self-defense outside the home.

While the Brady Center trumpets Scalia’s finding that there is no right to “carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” the Second Amendment Foundation takes that as confirmation that “there is a right to carry at least some weapons, in some manner, for some purpose.”

The latter argument is in a brief supporting Masciandaro’s appeal written by Alan Gura, who argued the Heller case. He said the case provides a perfect chance to “clarify” for recalcitrant lower courts that the Second Amendment “applies beyond the threshold of one’s home.”

But if neither Williams nor Masciandaro strikes the court as the right opportunity for the next round of Second Amendment jurisprudence, Gura assures that there are more cases on the way.

Mr. Gura along with the Second Amendment Foundation has done a good job in making sure that many more (good) cases are on the way! And to be fair, the NRA has done its part as well.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A Forum And Then A Report? Not For Elijah Cummings

In the normal course of events, a group holds their hearing, forum, or fact-gathering event and then issues a report even if that report’s “evidence” is pre-ordained. That obviously is just too slow for Rep. Elijah Cummings and the Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who are holding their forum at 10 am this morning.

Thanks to the Washington Post and their admitted plagarist Sari Horwitz, we now have the “report” from the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. You see if you write for Pravda on the Potomac and you are needed to attack Project Gunwalker, you get your copy of the so-called report before the rest of us whose tax money paid for it. If you were to check the Minority page of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s website, you would not see this report.

Screen Capture Taken at 8:05 EDT On Thursday, June 30th

You can see the “report” embedded below. Next time you’d think their mainstream media mouthpieces might wait until the actual forum had been held. Jeez!

Firearms Report 063011(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

H/T Mike Vanderboegh

Plagiarism At The Washington Post

The Washington Post has a mini-scandal on its hands. It seems that they had to acknowledge that their Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sari Horwitz had lifted copy from the Arizona Republic without attribution. In order words, she plagiarized it.

Plagiarism is both cheating and cutting corners in your research. It should call into question the rest of the plagiarist’s work.

Sari Horwitz is the co-author with James Grimaldi of the Washington Post’s anti-gun screed (or investigation as they call it) The Hidden Life of Guns. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?