NRA v. Ackerman, Texas

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre Deposition Transcript

September 24, 2019

Filing Summary

On September 24, 2019, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre sat for a deposition in the NRA’s litigation with their former vendor Ackerman McQueen. That deposition transcript was made public in a July 6, 2021 filing by Ackerman. NRA Watch reviewed the transcript and highlighted some testimony of note below.

Key Points

  • LaPierre testified that the NRA had partnered with conspiracy theorist GIenn Beck to raise money for the NRA. Although LaPierre didn’t provide details, he testified “when [Beck] did a campaign to join the NRA, we raised $3 million in NRA memberships.” (p.265)
  • In addition, LaPierre indicated that he had tried to convince former CFO Woody Phillips to stay onboard with the NRA prior to his retirement. In the NRA’s 2021 bankruptcy proceedings, Phillips pled the 5th Amendment in refusing to answer several lines of questioning, and the NRA sought to cast blame at Philips as a “man not for the job.” The revelation that LaPierre actually tried to convince Phillips to stay on as CFO undermines the NRA’s arguments that they had “cleaned house” internally. (p.111)
  • Along similar lines, LaPierre testified how he kept his Chief of Staff, Josh Powell, at the NRA despite two sexual harassment/discrimination complaints. He said the first complaint resulted in Powell not being able to work with the vendor where the alleged harassment took place. As to the second complaint, LaPierre testified “I don’t know what the settlement was.” Powell was also – in this litigation in 2019 – the NRA’s designated corporate representative for the case.  Two years after this deposition, in 2021, the NRA has sought to point to its eventual dismissal of Powell as evidence of its commitment to compliance. This testimony would seem to undermine that argument. (p.109-110)
  • LaPierre admits to firing the board of directors’ counsel. When asked how he had the authority to do that since it was the board’s lawyer, he responded “yeah, I know, it’s kind of crazy.” (p.115)
  • Amid questions about the size of legal bills from the firm of outside lawyer Bill Brewer, Lapierre testified that he never reviewed the Brewer legal bills personally. (p.165).  The Brewer firm has reportedly billed the NRA over $60 million in legal fees in the past three years.
  • LaPierre admitted that the NRA paid for him to fly by private charter flight, even on his personal vacations. (p.31).
  • In testimony that sheds light on the drama that erupted at the NRA’s 2019 Annual Meeting, LaPierre testified he believed if Oliver North was re-elected board president, North planned to “stack the deck” with appointments to the Audit Committee [NB: the board president of the NRA makes appointments to the organization’s various committees]. (p.176-177)
  • LaPierre testified extensively about the designer suits that were purchased for him at a Beverly Hills boutique. LaPierre explained that there was a period where his advisor at Ackerman McQueen “wanted me in light suits because he thought that women responded better in light suits” and that “there was another period of time where he thought my suits were outdated because of style…”. LaPierre said he “never saw the bills” for these suits. (p.208-210)
  • With respect to fundraising letters, LaPierre testified that “direct mail signatures are golden.” He testified he was surprised former board president Oliver North was not able to raise more money on direct mail appeals. (p.131-132)