Compensation for top National Rifle Association officials jumped 41 percent last year, according to a new tax filing, as the nation’s largest pro-gun organization sharply reduced spending on programs central to its mission, the Washington Post reports. The rise from 2017 to 2018 for the NRA’s officers, directors and highly paid employees included a 57 percent increase for chief executive Wayne LaPierre that boosted his compensation to $2.15 million. The filing shows perks for top officials typically associated with the corporate world, including charter and first-class travel with companions as well as dues for health or social clubs.
In the same period, NRA spending dropped 22 percent for education and training, 61 percent for hunter services and 51 percent for field services, which includes organizing volunteers, fundraising for shooting sports and promoting the NRA at gun shows and other events. Spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the NRA “eliminated costly advertising” in a number of program areas. Some board members and firearms enthusiasts say NRA leaders are putting their own financial interest above those of dues-paying members. “Money flowing away from programs and into executives’ pockets is causing many longtime members to join the ranks of American gun owners who have lost faith in the NRA, especially its leadership,” said Rob Pincus, a firearms instructor and NRA lifetime member who is leading a drive to overhaul the group’s board. “We make no apologies for doubling down on the investment required to confront our enemies and unprecedented attacks on our members in 2018,” Arulanandam said. LaPierre summoned the “Golden Ring of Freedom” — donors who have given at least $1 million — to the Virginia headquarters last month. “The meeting was scheduled so he could explain to us what was really going on — the truth,” said Florida real estate developer John Rumpel, who has given $2.8 million to the NRA.