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.

MarionHammer_061622

Wayne Gets Punked At Meeting Of Members

I was one of only about a hundred people that sat through the whole NRA Meeting of Members from beginning to end. I say that not to pat myself on the back but to say I saw what I’m about to show in real time.

The first resolution considered was to commend Wayne LaPierre for his leadership of the NRA past, present, and future. It was submitted by a Charles Beers (spelling?) from upstate New York. While there were people that opposed it, the Friends of Wayne including board members planned to use the discussion of it to run out the clock and to condemn anyone who had not drunk the purple Kool-Aid.

Jeff Knox was ruled out of order when he pointed out the bylaws forbid awards but Charles Cotton and the parliamentarian decided a resolution commending Wayne was not an award.

Here is where it gets interesting. So interesting in fact that it made the Washington Post, Newsweek, and many other publications.

As Stephen Gutowski of The Reload reported on Twitter at the time:

NRA member Jason Selvig says he’s tired of the left wing media spreading misinformation about LaPierre. Says he gets wrongly blamed for mass shootings. He says thought and prayers could stop shootings. He starts loudly chanting thoughts and prayers. Seems like some kind of stunt.

Well, it turns out it was a stunt. I will admit I thought the guy was a little strange. However, after listening to almost an hour of praise of Wayne nothing really seemed that strange.

Jason Selvig is one half of the comedy duo The Good Liars. They tend to poke fun at conservatives.

The video below that has been posted on Twitter has been watched over 8 million times.

While I may vehemently disagree with Mr. Selvig’s politics, I am enough of “an enemy within” and a “son of a bitch traitor” to enjoy the fact that Wayne got punked. I only wish the video contained the end where he was trying to get everyone to chant “thoughts and prayers”.

NRA Leadership Forum

The NRA Leadership Forum was meant to be Wayne’s big hurrah. I mean after all he was successful in getting former President Donald Trump to appear as the keynote speaker. Then an unhinged maniac decided to murder school children and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

As of this morning, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has canceled his appearance in order to be in Uvalde and will send a pre-recorded message. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has to be in Washington for “personal reasons” according to a report in Politico. Cornyn’s office insisted they had informed the NRA of this ahead of the murders in Uvalde. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) who represents a suburban Houston district is reported still on a trip to Ukraine.

This leaves President Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), NC Lt. Gov Mark Robinson (R-NC) who is also a NRA board member, and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as speakers in addition to Wayne and Jason Ouimet of the NRA-ILA.

As an aside, Sen. Cornyn has been tapped by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to be his negotiator with the Democrats on any gun control legislation that results from the murders in Buffalo and Uvalde. As I understand it, they will be discussing “red flag” law type of legislation.

As I don’t plan to be disarmed of even a knife, I plan to watch the speeches or some of them by video from the Press Room. It will be interesting to see if anything is said other than the typical stump speech.

Allen West’s Letter To NRA BOD

I am a little late posting this but I wanted to get it up prior to this week’s NRA Annual Meeting starting on Friday. It is an open letter from Lt. Col. Allen West to the NRA Board of Directors. He is asking for their vote when they meet on the Monday after the Annual Meeting to elect the Executive VP and CEO.

Now do I think Allen West will be elected? The answer is a resounding no. Wayne LaPierre has so stacked the Board with his loyalists that it is near impossibility. Nonetheless, it shows Judge Cohen in New York that some within the NRA are trying to change things for the better.

We’ll see.

Allen-West-NRA-press-release-22.05.19-v1

Special Master’s Report From NY v. NRA

One of the latest documents posted in the New York Attorney General’s case agains the NRA has an interesting tidbit in it. It is a report from the Special Master to the court. While most of the report deals with the length of the deposition scheduled for Wayne LaPierre, it notes that clarification is sought on whether Paul Payne is being represented by Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors.

Where have we heard that name before?

Oh, yes. It was in the bonus episode of Season 2 of Gangster Capitalism podcast. That episode described how Payne worked as a special assistant to Wayne LaPierre and how he was responsible for organizing the campaign to elect the Wayne-selected candidate for 76th Director. Monies from NRA dues were used to pay the travel and lodging expenses of “volunteers” to campaign for the candidate. I personally saw them in action at the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas where they pushed Herb Lankford and in Tucson where they pushed Jim Wallace. Both succeeded against reform candidates.

You can listen to the episode in the embedded player. Note that both Dezarae Payne, his ex-wife, and Michael Schwartz are still active Second Amendment activists.

I fully expect these folks to be out in force in Houston campaigning for Isaac Demerest against Frank Tait. It was obvious in Tucson that, even after being exposed by the Gangster Capitalism podcast, Wayne and his cabal have no shame when it comes to their openly corrupt actions of using member’s dues to stack the board.

The complete Special Master’s report to the court is below. See item (iii) where Payne’s name is mentioned.

451625_2020_People_of_the_State_of_v_People_of_the_State_of_REFEREE_REPORT___CO_657

The Drones Keep Listening To Big Brother

Image from Apple “1984” ad

I have to wonder who votes in the election for the NRA Board of Directors. You have a few good candidates and you have a lot of hacks. You have mostly Friends of Wayne and the rare candidate who wants to do something worthwhile. Invariably, it is the hacks who are the Friends of Wayne who get elected.

Many of us thought this year might – and I emphasize might – see some change in this.

We were wrong.

Frank Tait got this message today from John Frazer who is the NRA Secretary and a named defendant in the NYAG lawsuit:

“Based on the draft report from Rogers & Company, you have not been elected to the NRA Board of Directors. In accordance with Article VIII, Sec, 4 of the NRA Bylaws, your name will be automatically placed on the ballot for one Director for a one-year term to be voted on by those members present and eligible to vote on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of Members.”

You have to wonder if Wayne and his cabal will be so bold this year as to again push their preferred candidate for 76th Director using so-called volunteers who have their expenses paid. In their arrogance, I would not be surprised to see them deployed.

I do think the postal issue had some impact even if this is routinely denied by the NRA. Until we see the actual vote numbers, it will be impossible to determine.

In the meantime, I feel it is as if too many voters are like those drones in the Apple 1984 commercial listening to Big Brother. Just substitute Wayne’s bespectacled face for that of Big Brother and you have the results we have been seeing for years.

From the Apple 1984 commercial

I do have one question to those of you in California. Have you seen or heard of “ballot harvesting” by the NRA Member Councils in California?

Allen West Agrees To Challenge Wayne

Lt. Col. Allen West (USA-Retired) has agreed to challenge Wayne LaPierre for election as the Executive VP and CEO of the NRA.

Now do I think he will be successful?

No.

The reason is that too many members of the Board of Directors mistakenly believe their loyalty should be to Wayne and not to the NRA. They have long ago forgotten their fiduciary duty – if they ever learned it to begin with. I have read the attacks by David Keene and Marion Hammer on the idea of West being the next EVP and it is obvious that they think their loyalty should be to Wayne. More on that in a separate post.

As Rocky Marshall notes in the press release embedded below, the leadership of the NRA will be changed. The only question is whether it will be in Houston by the board or will it be in New York by the judge. When I say leadership I mean more than Wayne. Both Charles Cotton and David Coy, due to their chairing the Audit and Finance Committees respectively, are in too deep for the courts to allow them to remain in office. As to Willes Lee then moving up to be President of the NRA, I feel the same about that as I would about Kamala Harris moving up to be the President of the US.

Below is the press release sent out today announcing that West had agreed to challenge Wayne.

Allen-West-NRA-accept-05.09.22-press-release

Update On Move To Draft Allen West

Stephen Gutowski at TheReload.com has an update on the move to draft Allen West to challenge Wayne LaPierre for the post of Executive VP and CEO of the NRA.

From The Reload:

West said he is “honored” by the call for him to run against LaPierre. He said he is considering the move and consulting with loved ones.

“It is deeply humbling and I am honored that these current and former NRA Board Members would put such trust and confidence in my abilities,” West told The Reload. “I have to pray and consult with my family. I love the NRA and my life has been defined by answering the call to serve, and my oath to the Constitution has no statute of limitations.”

While some who intensely dislike LaPierre wonder if this is a good move, Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition had this point to make about Lt. Col. West.

From a comment on Facebook where he points out that perfect is the enemy of good:

Folks, not having an alternative candidate that’s “perfect” is how we end up with LaPierre continuing in power. We must take out LaPierre, and that means running a candidate who has the potential to win, and who will actually run. He might not be your favorite candidate, but he is likely to be the candidate we have, so please don’t be disparaging him.

I think Jeff is correct in that the question comes down to this: do you want the perfect candidate for EVP/CEO or do you want Wayne ousted?

Draft Allen West For NRA EVP

I received a press release today seeking to draft former Congressman Allen West (R-FL) to stand against Wayne LaPierre in the election for Executive VP and CEO. Lt. Col. West is a former member of the NRA Board of Directors. He resigned in 2019 after refusing to hew the party line that all was well within the NRA. West now resides in Texas, has served as Chairman of the Texas GOP, and just placed second to Greg Abbott in the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary.

The effort to draft West is led by current NRA board member Judge Phil Journey, former board members Rocky Marshall and Bill Daley, and current board candidate Frank Tait (among others).

I have embedded their press release below:

Draft-West-NRA-press-release

NRA Will Not Be Dissolved

Judge Joel Cohen issued a ruling today in the New York Attorney General’s dissolution suit against the National Rifle Association. He dismissed four of the 18 causes of action in the amended complaint brought by Attorney General Letitia James but allowed the remain 14 to continue. Specifically, Judge Cohen dismissed the first, second, 16th, and 18th causes of actions.

The first and second causes of action sought the dissolution of the NRA. In the first cause of action, the NRA was said to have “conducted its business in a persistently illegal manner and abused its powers contrary to the public policy of the State of New York by operating without effective oversight or control by its officers and directors” which was grounds for dissolution under N-PCL § 1109(b)(1). The second cause alleged that “directors or members in control of the NRA have looted or wasted the corporate assets, have perpetuated the corporation solely for their personal benefit, or have otherwise acted in an illegal, oppressive or fraudulent manner.” This would be grounds for dissolution under N-PCL § 1109(b)(1).

He wrote in dismissing those two causes of action:

In arguing for dissolution, the Attorney General’s allegations fail to delineate between the NRA, on the one hand, and its leaders on the other, who acted “without regard to the NRA’s best interests” (see id. ¶ 143 [“LaPierre, together with his direct reports, including Defendants Phillips, Frazer and Powell, instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight at the NRA . . . without regard to the NRA’s best interests.”]; id. ¶ 646 [“Despite a conflict of interest and his lack of authority to do so, LaPierre unilaterally determined to place the NRA into bankruptcy to evade a regulatory action in which he was named as a defendant . . . cost[ing] the NRA tens of millions of dollars”]). Conflating the Individual Defendants with the NRA writ large for purposes of dissolution is inappropriate here for the reasons discussed supra. It also ignores the allegations that the wrongdoers in control of the NRA do not necessarily speak for other NRA members, some of whom have tried to instigate reform within the organization but have been met with resistance from entrenched leadership (see, e.g., id. ¶ 491). (emphasis mine)

The 16th cause of action involved the prudent management of institutional funds. This cause of action was dismissed by Judge Cohen as it didn’t properly distinguish between “program-related funds” and “institutional funds”.

The 18th cause of action was specifically against LaPierre, Frazer, Phillips, and Powell. It accused them of common law “unjust enrichment” and sought to recover monies paid to them that were “excessive, unreasonable, and/or unauthorized.” Judge Cohen based his dismissal of this cause of action as it ran afoul of earlier NY Court of Appeals rulings about unjust enrichment. In other words, this was only dismissed due to a technicality.

While the NRA will not be dissolved, this is not to say that the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, and the others are in the clear. The third and fourth causes of action against LaPierre and John Frazer allege breach of fiduciary duty. This was allowed to proceed onwards. Likewise, Judge Cohen found that the allegations contained in the seventh and eighth causes of action which accuse both LaPierre and Frazer of failing to properly administer charitable assets were sufficient to proceed.

The 11th and 14th causes of action were against LaPierre and the NRA respectively. These accuse LaPierre and the NRA of engaging in “unlawful related party transactions.” Judge Cohen found that both claims were sustained.

The 15th cause of action which was allowed to go forward involved violation of the New York whistleblower protections. Judge Cohen said there was sufficient evidence to show that the NRA, Powell, and LaPierre retaliated against whistleblowers and that Frazer was incompetent in carrying out the whistleblower policy. The retaliation against Oliver North as well as the freezing out of directors such as Tim Knight and Esther Schneider from committee assignments is coming back to haunt the NRA.

The final cause of action sustained against the moves by LaPierre and Frazer to have them dismissed is the 17th. That cause of action stated that the NRA and Frazer “made materially false and misleading statements and omissions in the annual reports the organization filed with the Attorney General.” Judge Cohen said that the NRA didn’t contest the falsity of the filings for now and the allegations against Frazer were specific enough that they should continue.

It should be noted that neither Josh Powell nor Woody Phillips sought to have the specific causes of action against them dismissed.

If after all the court proceedings are finished, it could result in the all four of the individual defendants being being barred from the NRA or other New York non-profits and forced repayment of their ill-gotten gains. Moreover, I can foresee a forced restructuring of the NRA in such a way as to prevent the abuses we have seen and are now seeing.

The bottom line is while the NRA has escaped dissolution this is not the end of things.

You can read the full 42-page opinion by Judge Cohen below. It makes for interesting reading.

451625 2020 People of the State of v People of the State of DECISION ORDER on 611 by jpr9954 on Scribd