January 2021 NRA Board Meeting Minutes
After a year of scandals, lawsuits, and election losses, the NRA board of directors gathered in Dallas, Texas on January 7, 2021. The day prior insurrectionists had stormed the U.S. Capitol. Just a few days later, the NRA would declare bankruptcy.
Detailed reports and internal records from that January 7th board meeting, which typically would never see the light of day, have made public as trial exhibits from the NRA’s failed bankruptcy. The document, marked Exhibit 3 from the NRA’s bankruptcy trial, is among the more revelatory court records and contains the full meeting minutes. The document includes detailed reports from various NRA departments that contain priorities, metrics, and various summaries of NRA activities. NRA Watch has reviewed the exhibit and includes some highlights below.
- Second Vice President Willes Lee’s report to the board included the type of conspiratorial right-wing narratives that were found the day prior among the insurrectionists at the U.S. Capitol, as he noted: “We have sustained attacks of tyrannical governments, NGOs, haters, China virus, fraudulent elections, dishonest media, and leftist terrorists in the streets.” (emphasis added) (p.12)
- Wayne LaPierre Report to the Board on the assistance of the firearms industry: “The program is 1% ahead of 2019, year to date for the year, a huge leap from the shortfall for the first half of the year. If you take Annual Meeting revenues out of the mix the department is actually up roughly 16% on the year. Industry partners have led the charge realizing a 205% increase vs 2019 year to date.” (p.13)
- In discussing telemarketing tactics and the “fake news media upsell”: “In September, we continued to see strong support from our Members using our “Save NRA” scripts. We were able to morph that support into a “NY Attack” script which has done very well. We also tested various new scripts to discuss the elections. Post-election we are seeing some waning in enthusiasm, however we do not anticipate that to last. We continue to use the “Fake News Media” upsell with success.” (emphasis added)(p.14)
- The NRA maintains a “Contact Accumulator Warehouse, which archives a record for each contact (mail or phone) to any member or prospect every generated… for use in mailing analysis. The total number of contacts to members recorded is 1,459,178,593 and 96,200,000 million Unique Person/Address records are currently stored” in the Contact Accumulator Warehouse. (p.18)
- According to a board resolution, the NRA had planned to sell its Waples Mill Rd headquarters building in Virginia during 2020. This plan was reversed during this board meeting. (p.28)
- According to the report of the Treasurer, NRA revenue was down 7.5 percent in 2020. The NRA cut its operations considerably in 2020, spending $62.3 million less than budgeted, and described the cuts as “structural adjustments were made across all areas, beginning in late March, which materially reduced spending levels in personnel and benefits, key annual events, programs and general operating activities.” (p.36-37)
- One notable passage from the state affairs department comes when the NRA discusses the recently signed Second Amendment Preservation Act in Missouri. The far-right Dorr brothers, who attended the public signing of the bill, have claimed credit for the bill through their Missouri Firearms Coalition. The NRA update notes it “did not actively lobby for” the bill, but rather it “advised sponsors on the possible dangers and roadblocks in the bill as drafted.” The update notes that the Dorr brothers “pushed this bill hard and used it as ammunition to attack Republican lawmakers who did not sign on as co-sponsors.” (p.91)
- The NRA’s External Affairs update, which describes the organization’s efforts internationally, notes that effort as “often in the shadows, our results, such as convincing the [Trump] administration to unsign the ATT, can be seen and heard around the world. Accordingly, it bears repeating that most of what we do internationally is ‘quiet diplomacy.’” (p.119-118)
- In a move that further cements the status quo, the NRA Bylaws committee dismissed several resolutions proposed by members at the October meeting of the members (p.143-149). These included:
- A resolution to implement board members term limits.
- Dissident member Frank Tait’s motion to remove certain members of the board and leadership.
- Dissident member Jeff Knox’s motion claiming that the bylaws require that board roll call votes be published in NRA publications.