Tag Archives: Wayne

Wayne LaPierre Promised Job Security, Then Ousted an NRA Top Gun

Wayne LaPierre Promised Job Security, Then Ousted an NRA Top GunJim Watson/AFP/GettyIn retrospect, it was weird. On a mid-July day at National Rifle Association headquarters, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gathered with top officials from the gun group’s lobbying arm for a frank conversation. Turmoil had rocked the organization for months, reaching a zenith with the resignation of top lobbyist Chris Cox, who for years had helmed the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Affairs (ILA). The association had grown balkanized, with top staff torn between LaPierre and Cox. And with the LaPierre camp on the march, Cox loyalists had reason to be nervous about their job security. So LaPierre sought to reassure the senior ILA officials who gathered that day, according to two people familiar with the meeting. He said ILA was “moving forward” and that staff there would have a “clean slate.” His message, which attendees then relayed to their subordinates, was simple: People could breathe easy about their jobs, and things were stabilizing. His message was wrong. Just days later, news broke that Jennifer Baker—who spent years as the communications director for ILA and was part of Cox’s small inner circle—was out. Baker’s departure shocked many Republican insiders, who had long seen her as a fixture in the organization. An NRA spokesperson told CNN Baker had been ousted because the association had conducted “a reorganization of its public affairs function,” implying she had been rendered redundant. Politico reported, however, that she had been helping plan its electoral strategy.Reached for comment, the NRA highlighted the statement that CNN had quoted.“The NRA would not be inclined to discuss private business meetings, but it was reported that on July 16, 2019 that the NRA announced a reorganization of its public affairs function,” the NRA said in a statement. “Jennifer, as you know, worked in public affairs for ILA. At the time, it was announced that, according to the NRA: ‘The NRA announced a reorganization of its public affairs function this week. The change consolidates and improves our communications, public affairs, and social media functions. All these operations now operate under one department, eliminating a parallel function in NRA-ILA. We are excited about the change and the benefits it brings to the organization and its members.’”LaPierre’s abortive effort to calm employees’ nerves crystallized the confusion and bewilderment that grips NRA officials. And the uncertainty could hardly come at a worse time. The association faces a host of challenges: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has intimated to financial institutions that they could face legal trouble if they work with the NRA, so some have pulled away from the association. In response, the NRA sued, with an assist from the ACLU. The association also faces a number of investigations. The Senate Intelligence Committee has scrutinized the group as part of its probe into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)—the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee—has obtained documents from NRA officials as part of his own investigation of the group. Meanwhile, attorneys general in New York and Washington, D.C., have launched their own probes of the association. Then there are the dueling lawsuits between the NRA and its ex-PR firm, Ackerman McQueen. Both demand tens of millions from each other and allege major wrongdoing. All those legal problems bring big legal bills. Ad Agency Fires Back at NRA With $ 50 Million CounterclaimThe legal bills have become a problem in and of themselves. Oliver North, who was president of the group until stepping down in April after a fight with LaPierre, has alleged that the association’s outside lawyers are billing it nearly $ 100,000 a day. NRA officials, including LaPierre, stand by those lawyers. But the bills are still piling up. At the same time, the association’s fundraising has struggled. Allegations of financial mismanagement—including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on LaPierre’s wardrobe—have angered gun rights activists and some major donors. On top of that, activists are less worried about the Second Amendment’s future given Republican control of the Senate and White House, which makes them less inclined to donate. The result: The NRA has brought in $ 55 million less in 2017 than it did in 2016. Meanwhile, the gun group’s opponents are as energized as ever—due in large part to a recent spate of horrific mass shootings, including the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the white supremacist terror attack in El Paso. The El Paso attack—followed hours later by a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio—jarred Trump administration officials and appears to have jarred the president himself. Trump claimed on Tuesday afternoon that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supports expanded background checks, and McConnell himself has telegraphed some openness to stricter gun laws. LaPierre had a phone call with Trump last week and tried to dissuade him from tightening background checks. But without his top lobbyist, Cox, his government affairs shop is hobbled. That doesn’t mean new gun laws are guaranteed—far from it. And, ironically, the NRA will likely cash in on the fight, telling disaffected donors that it’s the only group that can keep Republicans in line. It’s an argument that has opened wallets for years. But for that argument to work, LaPierre needs credibility with donors. And he just bashed his credibility with his own lobbyists. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is Lying

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is LyingLucas Jackson/ReutersIn a new filing against the National Rifle Association, lawyers for ad agency Ackerman McQueen suggest that longtime NRA executive Wayne LaPierre is lying about a critical moment in the gun rights group’s recent leadership shake up. At issue is multi-million-dollar litigation between the NRA and its ex-ad firm. In court filings of its own, the NRA has alleged that Oliver North, the groups's former president, was ousted in part because he withheld information from the NRA about payments he took from Ackerman McQueen, which had served as the gun rights group’s primary ad contractor until just months ago. The NRA claims North kept the nature of his deal with Ackerman McQueen a secret from LaPierre and the gun group’s leadership. But in a July 16 filing that was reviewed by The Daily Beast, Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre himself helped negotiate the deal between their firm and North. And they hint that they have documentation to prove it. In a statement, the NRA denied the suggestions. “The facts are clear – Mr. LaPierre and the NRA had no idea that Col. North was negotiating to become an employee of Ackerman McQueen,” said Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. “And to the extent Col. North was pushing a contrived narrative about Mr. LaPierre and the NRA, he was conflicted. He was an employee of Ackerman at the time he was allegedly scheming with the agency to unseat Mr. LaPierre.”  It’s a messy new chapter in the months-long legal battle between the NRA and the ad firm it used for more than three decades. And it comes as the gun group has jettisoned senior staff and faced revolts from grassroots activists and donors. “LaPierre negotiated the terms of the North Contract directly with Lt. Col. North and a detailed term sheet was sent to AMc [Ackerman McQueen] for completion of the formal agreement,” the filing reads. The NRA’s then-treasurer, Wilson “Woody” Phillips, also reviewed and approved North’s contract with the firm, according to the filing, and the NRA board’s audit committee green-lit the contract as well. “On at least two occasions, counsel for the NRA has reviewed the North Contract,” the filing adds. NRA Pulls the Plug on NRATVAckerman McQueen’s insistence that NRA officials were aware of the contract with North is directly at odds with the contention the NRA made in a suit it filed against the ad agency in April. North was ousted from the NRA that month during the group’s annual meeting and has since accused LaPierre of gross mismanagement and making highly questionable expenditures. The NRA, meanwhile, has alleged that North tried to oust LaPierre in a coup. And in a separate suit in May, it accused Ackerman McQueen of breach of contract by leaking information about both LaPierre and the NRA’s finances. Ackerman McQueen had been a central force behind the NRA’s evolution from a gun rights group to a conservative cultural institution. As part of that mission, the ad firm helped launch and manage NRATV, the NRA’s recently shuttered internet-video arm. The NRA has alleged in court that Ackerman McQueen had refused to share its analytics with the gun group. But In its July 16 filing, Ackerman McQueen claims that the opposite is true. “Two days before the lawsuit was filed, LaPierre was in AMc’s office and was in attendance for the presentation of the NRATV analytics,” it reads. “LaPierre walked out of the meeting.” A spokesperson for the NRA’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The filing indicates that the fight between the NRA and Ackerman shows no signs of losing steam. Earlier this week, longtime NRA director of public affairs Jennifer Baker left the group. And a month ago, the group parted ways with its longtime top lobbyist, Chris Cox. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: ‘Elites’ don’t care about school safety

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: ‘Elites’ don’t care about school safetyOn Thursday, Feb. 22, the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference amid the nation’s heated debate about gun control following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. During his speech, LaPierre said “elites” don’t care about school safety, and he called for more guns in schools.



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NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre: FBI, Elitism To Blame For School Shootings

NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre: FBI, Elitism To Blame For School ShootingsNational Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday to defend his organization one week after a gunman used an assault-style rifle to kill 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.



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An Abandoned Factory In Fort Wayne Will Give You Both Nostalgia And The Spooks

An Abandoned Factory In Fort Wayne Will Give You Both Nostalgia And The SpooksFort Wayne, Indiana, is a city that prides itself on its industrial history.



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Fan of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Arrested After Mom's Body Is Found: 'Mama's Under the Front Porch'

Fan of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Arrested After Mom's Body Is Found: 'Mama's Under the Front Porch'Susan Mayo had been missing since June, authorities said.



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Lil Wayne Rushed to Hospital After Suffering Seizure, Upcoming Las Vegas Show Canceled

Lil Wayne Rushed to Hospital After Suffering Seizure, Upcoming Las Vegas Show CanceledLil Wayne was reportedly rushed to the hospital in Chicago on Sunday after suffering a seizure, leading to the cancellation of his upcoming show in Las Vegas



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16-year-old from Minnesota ID'd as victim of John Wayne Gacy

16-year-old from Minnesota ID'd as victim of John Wayne GacyCHICAGO (AP) — After running away from his Minnesota home in 1976, 16-year-old Jimmy Haakenson called his mother, told her he was in Chicago, then disappeared forever.



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NRA’s Wayne LaPierre calls academic and media elites ‘America’s greatest threat’

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre calls academic and media elites ‘America’s greatest threat’Executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre spoke ahead of President Trump at an NRA meeting and said academic and media elites are “America’s greatest domestic threats.”



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