The National Rifle Association (NRA), which has been rocked by allegations of exorbitant spending by top executives, also directed money to members of its board, which is responsible for overseeing its finances, the Washington Post reports.
A former pro football player on the board was paid $400,000 for public outreach and firearms training. A New Mexico writer on the board collected $28,000 for articles in NRA publications. Another member sold ammunition from his company to the NRA.
Eighteen members of the 76-member board collected from the group during the past three years, according to tax filings, state charitable reports and NRA correspondence. The payments deepen questions about the board’s oversight as it steered the most powerful U.S. gun rights group.
The NRA relies heavily on its 5 million members for dues. Some are rebelling and questioning its leadership. “I will be the first person to get in your face about defending the Second Amendment, but I will not defend corruption and cronyism and fearmongering,” said Vanessa Ross, a Pennsylvania bakery owner and lifetime NRA member who worked for the NRA on a program for disabled shooters.
The NRA said its finances are healthy and that allegations of misspending are unfounded. Last month, a dozen board members expressed “full confidence in the NRA’s accounting practices and commitment to good governance.”
The board includes firearms industry executives, conservative leaders, gun enthusiasts and a sports and entertainment celebrities. Among its members are former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), basketball star Karl Malone and Joe Allbaugh, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the George W. Bush administration. After learning about money other 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.”
Earlier reports alleged the NRA was rocked by accusations that it drew at least $260 million from its charity foundation. A review of tax records showed that the powerful lobbying group has increasingly relied on cash infusions and other transactions involving its affiliated foundation, at least $206 million worth since 2010. The role of the foundation is among the issues being examined in an investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status by the New York attorney general, Letitia James.
Additional reading: New Financial Management Claims Surface Insider NRA