U.S. House of Representatives
One of the groups that fiercely fought for Donald Trump to become president during the 2016 presidential election was the National Rifle Association, whose leadership contends that the solution to our nation’s gun violence epidemic is for citizens to arm themselves, including cloistered nuns and elementary school crossing guards.
Trump had hoped that the NRA, a federally recognized charity, would perform a similar role in his 2020 election effort, convincing ordinary Americans that he and they had their best interests at heart.
Well, the president may have to look elsewhere because the NRA has shot itself in the foot; its leadership is feuding amongst themselves and its prudence is under question.
Just what is the problem? Well, listen to this gun of a tale.
The membership of the NRA recently discovered that Wayne LaPierre, the group’s chief executive officer, allegedly used nearly $280,000 of money donated by members of the public to purchase men’s clothing at one of the finest men’s clothing stores in Beverly Hills.
One would have thought that LaPierre, who is paid more than $1 million annually, could have purchased his own clothing. But that was not the case. So much for fiscal restraint and financial accountability, so often urged by supporters of the president.
LaPierre was not the only NRA official who seems to have enjoyed shoving his hand into the cookie jar.
Oliver North, until recently the president of the NRA, had an arrangement with the group that guaranteed him more than $1 million each year. So much for cleaning up the swamp, promised to voters by the likes of LaPierre and North prior to the 2016 election.
A study of NRA financials also reveals that North and LaPierre were not the only two insiders who received questionable payments from the group.
A former NRA president and a board member received payments that are being called into question. And if that were not enough, there are rental payments made over a three-month period for an apartment of a female NRA intern. Those payments were made at the request of LaPierre, according to press reports.
Some shocked NRA board members have called on LaPierre to resign. One of them said that he and fellow board members were unaware of the group’s spending practices. Of course, an unrepentant LaPierre does not appear to be packing his bags.
It will be interesting to see what the White House has to say about its sponsor once more is revealed about the NRA, the same folks who want you to arm yourself, but who want you to pay no attention to how they handle your membership dues.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. She also chairs the House committee on Science, Space and Technology.