After weeks of news reports detailing rampant financial mismanagement and questionable business practices amongst the top tier of management, National Rifle Association (NRA) leader Wayne Lapierre now says he’s being extorted.
The longtime face of the organization sent a letter to NRA board members on Thursday, railing against NRA President Oliver North. Specifically, Pierre says that he is being forced to make a simple decision: resign or be publicly smeared with “destructive allegations.”
Pierre framed his situation as a choice between his principles and what is popular.
“I was forced to confront one of these defining choices-styled, in parlance of extortionists, as an offer I couldn’t refuse. I refused it.”
According to Pierre, Oliver North called one of Pierre’s senior staffers to make the threat. Pierre continues,
“I believe the purpose of the letter was to humiliate me, discredit our Association, and raise appearances of impropriety that hurt our Second Amendment.”
North, infamous for his role in the Iran-Contra affair, wrote his own letter to the board the same night, according to the Wall Street Journal. North told members that he was in the process of forming a crisis committee to examine financial dealings within the organization.
This all falls on the same week that President Trump and others are speaking at the annual NRA convention.
The relationship between the NRA, which is technically a non-profit, and its third party vendors, has recently been the source of intense scrutiny. Pierre charges that North is threatening to release information provided by Ackerman Mcqueen – an advertising agency that has reportedly paid North millions – which could touch on these financial issues and tarnish the organizations reputation.
Though there has been plenty of speculation about the financial health of the NRA, it appears that this “extortion” letter Pierre speaks of may actually grant some insight into these charges. However, it is unknown if the supposed letter will ever see the light of day, as Pierre claims that it will disappear if he forfeits his role as Executive Vice President.
The NRA’s 76-member board is set to meet on Monday.