With the gun control lobby perhaps as strong as it has ever been, the National Rifle Associated finds itself locked in bitter in-fighting.
Following the release of leaked memos, NRA board member Allen West has called for executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre to step down, while other members have turned on West.
The memos revealed accusations of impropriety, including $275,000 spent on Italian suits and $265,000 spent on travel, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
West, a former Republican congressman from Florida, published a statement on his website ripping the board while laying out his case.
“There is a cabal of cronyism operating within the NRA and that exists within the Board of Directors,” he wrote. “It must cease, and I do not care if I draw their angst.”
The retired lieutenant colonel said he was “deeply concerned” about what’s happening at the pro-Second Amendment group.
“The recent statements by Charles Cotton and Carolyn Meadows that are appearing in the Wall Street Journal, and now other news outlets, are outright lies,” West stated. “I have never been told, advised, informed or consulted about any of these details mentioned in the WSJ, and who knows how much more despicable spending of members’ money.”
NRA president Carolyn Meadows, first vice president Charles Cotton, and second vice president Lt. Col. Willes Lee (ret.), defended LaPierre in a joint statement to the Free Beacon, accusing West of making false statements about how the board has operated.
“It is unfortunate that certain board members have resorted to making false and misleading public statements about proceedings of the NRA board of directors,” the joint statement said. “As those board members know, we are not at liberty to discuss the particulars of the board of directors meeting that occurred in executive session on April 29. However, every board member was afforded the opportunity to speak openly about any issues of concern to them. To suggest otherwise is dishonorable.”
NRA leadership said board members had the opportunity to be heard at a closed-door session of the latest board meeting, with Meadows, Cotton and Lee noting that LaPierre was reelected “unanimously,” according to the Free Beacon.
“Fact — when the board met, Wayne was unanimously voted to continue in his leadership role of the Association,” they said. “Anyone could have run against him, or any one of us for that matter, or even called for a roll call vote. They chose not to do so.”
But West said he made his feeling known before that meeting.
“Prior to the NRAAM in Indianapolis I sent an email to Wayne LaPierre’s managing director, Millie Hallow, expressing my sentiment that Wayne LaPierre resign immediately,” he said in his online statement.
“I also drafted a memo entitled “Resolution of Concerns,” both of these statements are known to the NRA Board. It is imperative that the NRA cleans its own house. If we had done so in Indianapolis, much of this could have been rectified.”
“The NRA needs new leadership,” West told the Free Beacon.
Leadership countered by saying, “We should end this petty bickering immediately.”
“Now is the time for the NRA to return to its core mission: representing our members and defending the constitutional freedoms of America.”
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