NRA v. Oliver North

Oliver North’s Submission to NRA Hearing Board

July 22, 2020

Filing Summary

This document, entitled “Defense of Lt. Col. Oliver North to the NRA’s Baseless and Illegal Attempt to Expel Him”, was submitted by Oliver North to the NRA. This was in response to the NRA’s internal efforts to remove him from the NRA board, and publicly filed as Exhibit 2 to North’s Answer to the NRA’s lawsuit against him in New York State.

The submission includes numerous letters and witness statements that attempt to demonstrate North’s status as a whistleblower who attempted to raise questions about financial improprieties at the NRA.  Highlights from some of the new disclosures can be found below.

Key Points

  • In a brief opening statement (p.2-5), North claims he took actions to discharge his fiduciary duty as an NRA board member to raise question of potential financial misconduct and inadequate governance at the NRA. He claims the efforts to oust him from the NRA are retaliatory and that it was Wayne LaPierre who “induced” North to contract with Ackerman McQueen and to become NRA President.
  • At page 7-8, North includes a copy of the minutes for the NRA Audit Committee’s September 2018 meeting, which includes discussion of his contract with Ackerman McQueen.  The committee adopted a resolution that “North’s continued participation in the [Ackerman] contract during his serviced on the NRA Board and as an NRA officer is hereby approved and ratified…” (p.8).
  • At pages 17-20, North includes an April 8, 2019 letter he wrote Wayne LaPierre about his concerns with the size of the legal bills from the law firm of William Brewer. North told LaPierre that “all I have done is to take the fiduciary advice of our Board Counsel and joined others in seeks an outside, independent review of the Brewer firm’s $19+ million in bills. These bills are shocking to me and many others…” (p.18).
    •   Without further explanation, North references “$5 million that I understand has been accrued but not yet billed by the Brewer firm for ‘Russian matters.’” (p.18)
    • North refutes LaPierre’s suggestion of ignorance of North’s contract with Ackerman, writing “It was your idea that I leave my job at Fox News, and become President of the NRA and enter into a contract with Ackerman McQueen to work on NRATV. You helped negotiate the contract.” (p.17)
  • Statement of Former NRA Board Member Richard Childress (p.112): Childress offers a statement that indicates “in early 2018, Wayne LaPierre discussed with me that he had negotiated a deal with Lt. Col. North to become the President of the NRA. Mr. LaPierre told me he was going to pay Lt. Col. North between $2M and $3M to get him more involved in NRA TV.” Childress was supportive of this move.
    • After North became board president, Childress says attorney Steven Hart informed him that “the NRA was experiencing a cash crisis that put the NRA at risk of being unable to meet its obligations to its employees and programs” and that this was “as a result of the multi-million dollar bills that attorney Bill Brewer was sending to the NRA.”
    • Childress claims that LaPierre “blocked” an independent review of Brewer’s billing.
    • At the 2019 NRA convention, Childress says he took part in a private meeting with LaPierre, North, Carolyn Meadows, Millie Hallow, Jim Porter and Wit Davis to discuss why LaPierre was attempting to block North’s re-nomination as the NRA board president.  During the course of the meeting, Childress says that Millie Hallow informed LaPierre that she received a call from NRA board member Dan Boren who said that Ackerman would drop “any charges they were getting ready to file” if LaPierre stepped down. Childress says North personally offered to fly to Oklahoma with LaPierre to try to “straighten this out.”
  • Statement of Former NRA Chief Lobbyist Chris Cox (p.117): While Cox has largely been silent in the wake of his departure at the NRA, he submitted a one page letter with North’s submission to the NRA Hearing Board. He claims he never talked with North about removing Wayne LaPierre as Executive Vice President of the NRA and that he personally “did not think Mr. LaPierre should step down.”
    • Cox says he was informed on April 24, 2019, during the NRA Annual Meeting, by NRA board member Dan Boren that Ackerman McQueen supposedly had information about LaPierre and that Ackerman was demanding LaPierre step down.
    • Cox claims he attempted to reach LaPierre through his assistant Millie Hallow and also passed along the details of his conversation with Boren to North. He states that “neither I nor Lt. Col. North states that Mr. LaPierre should step down as Executive Vice President.”  
  • Statement of Former SEC Chair Harvey Pitt (p.126): North offers a purported expert opinion from former SEC Chair Harvey Pitt. In his 22 page letter, Pitt argues that North was acting properly as a fiduciary to the NRA in raising questions about certain spending at the organization.  
    • Pitt also says that “the failure” of LaPierre “to recuse himself from the NRA’s considerations” of many of the allegations is inconsistent with the NRA’s Conflict of Interest Policy and the requirements of New York non-profit law. (p.145)
  • At pages 28 – 38, North includes his financial disclosure questionnaire to the NRA about potential conflicts of interest. The filing also makes public the NRA’s Conflict of Interest Policy (p.256).
  • Former attorneys for the NRA, Charles Cooper and Steve Hart, also supposedly submitted witness statements to the NRA.  However, due to potential issues involving attorney-client privilege, those statements are not included in this filing (p.2/footnote).