|This is she's'a no good. (Part 2)|
Posted by: TEEBONE ® |
Author Profile Mail author Edit
New York Attorney General Probes NRA as Oliver North Exits as President
The New York attorney general’s office is investigating potential financial and disclosure problems at the National Rifle Association, amid boardroom turmoil at the group that led Saturday to the departure of NRA President Oliver North after a bruising internal political battle.
The probe is looking into alleged financial misconduct of the kind that Mr. North has raised in the internal battles. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Letitia James confirmed the probe and said subpoenas have been issued, but had no further comment.
Mr. North, in a letter read to NRA members Saturday morning at the group’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, said he had hoped to be renominated for a second one-year term as president, but “I am now informed that will not happen.”
The departure of Mr. North, a conservative folk hero from his days as an Iran-Contra figure, comes after NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre sent a letter to the NRA board accusing Mr. North of trying to extort him and force him out over allegations of financial improprieties.
Mr. North previously told the executive committee of the NRA’s board about new allegations involving Mr. LaPierre personally, including a claim that the NRA chief had charged more than $200,000 of wardrobe expenses to an NRA vendor.
In his letter, Mr. North referred to those allegations and recent media articles about NRA insiders profiting from the group, saying “there is a clear crisis that needs to be dealt with quickly and responsibly.” He also said that, if true, the allegations could threaten the NRA’s nonprofit status.
Wayne LaPierre at the NRA annual meeting in Indianapolis on Friday Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
Mr. North earlier in the week also had told the NRA board’s executive committee of other allegations, including hefty travel expenses charged to a vendor and sexual-harassment allegations against a senior NRA official, according to people familiar with the matter.
The New York attorney general’s office, in a document-preservation letter sent to the NRA Friday, said the investigation was focused on “related-party transactions between the NRA and its board members; unauthorized political activity; and potentially false or misleading disclosures in regulatory filings,” according to a person familiar with the matter.
The NRA, as a New York-registered nonprofit, is regulated by that state, which has some of the toughest nonprofit laws in the U.S.
“The NRA will fully cooperate with any inquiry into its finances,” said William A. Brewer III, an outside attorney for the gun-rights group. “The NRA is prepared for this, and has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance.”
Mr. Brewer and an NRA board member have said that the NRA board previously investigated many of the issues raised by Mr. North and that Mr. LaPierre’s wardrobe expenses were justified given his public appearances.
The dispute between the NRA’s two top figures in part centered on the NRA’s now-troubled relationship with its longtime advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen Inc. When Mr. North joined the NRA last year, the ad firm hired him to host a documentary program on NRATV, which it produces for the gun-rights group.
The NRA earlier this month sued Ackerman McQueen, claiming it refused to provide records justifying its billings, including records showing the full costs of Mr. North’s program. The ad firm has called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “inaccurate.”
Mr. North in the letter read Saturday morning said he had joined the NRA a year ago after Mr. LaPierre urged him to retire from his job at Fox News— where he was a pundit—“and I accepted a salaried position at Ackerman McQueen.”
Mr. LaPierre, in his letter to the board, claimed that Mr. North had conveyed a threat on behalf of Ackerman McQueen, saying the ad firm was prepared to release new accusations against the NRA chief if he didn’t resign.
Mr. LaPierre also took issue with the costs of Mr. North’s TV contract, saying he was being paid “millions of dollars annually’ by Ackerman McQueen, for a dozen episodes of his documentary series, “Oliver North’s American Heroes.” But only three episodes have been delivered thus far, Mr. LaPierre wrote, and the NRA has demanded to know what it is paying for “in light of these production shortfalls.”
Ackerman McQueen “appears to have responded indirectly by trying to oust me,” Mr. LaPierre wrote.
Ackerman McQueen officials previously declined to comment on Mr. LaPierre’s letter.
Mr. North said in the letter read to members that he had established a crisis committee of the NRA’s board to deal with the financial-mismanagement allegations. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to that committee, or whether the leadership crisis at the NRA was over.
The organization’s full 76-member board is scheduled to meet Monday.
Ms. James, a Democrat who took office in January as New York attorney general, had vowed during last year’s election campaign to investigate the nonprofit status of the NRA, which she called a “criminal enterprise.”
NRA officials have been aware of the potential for Ms. James to probe the group, and have been trying to shore up internal governance practices.
News of the attorney general’s investigation was reported earlier by the New York Times.
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
|Post Reply | Recommend | Alert||Previous | Next | Current page|