2016 – We Still Need Greater Accountability

We’ll say it again and again: we wish that airing our “dirty laundry” like this wasn’t necessary.  We don’t write to damage the Association.  We write to keep it healthy and strong, and able to better defend our Second Amendment rights.  Unfortunately, many Board members still think their seats make them part of an exclusive country club rather than a working council, and we wish they spend as much effort improving the NRA as they have in trying to find out who we are.

Worse, we still have Board members who appear to think they’re owed something by the Association for having a seat, rather than owing our membership their dedication and efforts.  Several bill the Association for their appearances, including annual meetings (when they bother to show).

Ted Nugent had been getting paid in this manner for years, despite the negative publicity he’s brought with him.  We don’t simply mean political incorrectness – he continues to lend his name to a line of ammunition that helped fund the virulently anti-gun Andrew Cuomo campaign.  Never mind the insult to members of having to pay Directors to show up to meetings, our money is indirectly being funneled to the man who imposed the SAFE Act on New Yorkers!

Dave Butz is also paid a salary by the Association, charging for appearances at events and shotgun demonstrations.  Should a person be paid for their time?  Yes.  But we note that other Board members consider it an honor to volunteer to benefit the Association, allowing funds to be better spent on “standing and fighting.”

Lance Olson is a worse case.  The “land baron… [and] renowned collector” of firearms is receiving a monthly payment for, as near as we can tell, nothing.  There is no record of him speaking or lobbying in the service of Association members.  Perhaps he has gone out of his way to modestly conceal it, and we would love to be shown evidence of that.  As it stands, it appears that Mr. Olson takes his position – and inexplicable salary – for such granted that he hasn’t even deigned to campaign for his seat.

Karl Malone is a symptom of another serious problem – absenteeism.  Mr. Malone has long been rumored to be a Director, yet sources claim not to have not seen him at Board meetings for many years, if ever, and there is no record or person we can find who can speak to his ever actually having been sworn in.  We wish the man himself would straighten this out – but he doesn’t show for meetings to discuss the matter.  Board members are elected to do what is in the best interest of the Association and its members.  How can one even know what that is, much less make a good faith effort to defend it, when they don’t even show up for meetings?

Regarding the Norquist recall, he could have saved the Association embarrassment by resigning and then re-running for his seat, letting the membership pass judgment.  Instead, he remained silent.  He has never addressed the charges directly, while encouraging proxies to defend him.  We don’t know if he’s guilty of the charges leveled against him, but we are now of the opinion that he should be removed for his lack of character and courage in how he faced this.  This is his issue, not the organization’s, and he should have voluntarily distanced himself before the negative publicity touched the NRA.

While he is not a member of the Board, we must also ding Glenn Beck for a lack of character and attention to detail in handling this matter.  He all but initiated this recall but then appeared to simply stop caring.  If this is as serious a charge as Beck implied, he should remain on this story and keep the details of the board election in the forefront of members’ minds.  He did not return to the matter until several weeks into the voting.  Perhaps he will remind members during the 2018 election cycle – and will remain on message until voting is done.

We are seeing an improvement in our Board, and believe it is in large part due to members’ increased demands of accountability.  We encourage you to continue contacting the Board and letting them know you expect them to do their duty.

Fall 2016 update:

We’ve echoed membership complaints that Association members needed to go to places like Mother Jones and “The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence” just to know who their Directors were.  Thankfully, it seems like the Board listened and are now publishing our Directors’ names in our monthly magazine.  Better still, they are now including general contact information for the Board, allowing members to email or “snail mail” them with their thoughts.

And fellow members, you should.  It is your Association.

A Last-Ditch Effort to Protect the Integrity of the NRA Board of Directors