NRA Sues Former President Oliver North (Again)
According to a new filing, the NRA has quietly sued its former board president Oliver North in what appears to be an attempt to remove North from the organization’s board of directors. This new suit comes almost exactly a year after the NRA filed its previous suit against North, who was ousted as president during the 2019 NRA Annual Meeting, to prevent reimbursement of his legal fees.
The NRA’s latest complaint against North is heavily redacted, making it impossible to fully review and analyze the facts alleged by the NRA. A few items, however, can be ascertained from the filing:
- The complaint clearly states that the NRA seeks a declaration that North’s decision not to resign from Ackerman McQueen was “an election by North to forfeit his NRA Board membership.” (para. 9).
- The NRA acknowledges that its Audit Committee previously (September 2018) approved Oliver North’s contract with Ackerman McQueen, but then “rescinded” that position in May 2019. Recall, in the interim period, North had spoken out about what he viewed as wasteful spending on legal expenses at the NRA. (para. 56).
- The filing also alleges that North threatened suit against the NRA in May 2020, but details are redacted. (para. 81).
This suit is a continuation of a long, bitter battle between North and the NRA. Here’s a brief overview, as documented in the NRA in Crisis: 2020 report on NRAWatch.com:
- Then-NRA President North raises alarms about NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s spending: In 2019, Oliver North began to raise alarms about fees the NRA was paying a law firm hired by CEO Wayne LaPierre, saying the invoices were “draining NRA cash at mindboggling speed” and “pose[d] an existential threat to the financial stability of the NRA.”
- LaPierre accuses North of extortion: Then, on the first day of the 2019 NRA Annual Meeting, LaPierre accused North of extortion, alleging that North had called a LaPierre staffer, asking her to pass along a message: if LaPierre did not resign, North and Ackerman McQueen would release a “devastating account” of the NRA’s financial status along with other lurid accusations. According to North, however, he had written to the NRA’s executive committee hours earlier to form a “crisis management committee” to deal with the myriad financial and management issues facing the organization, but the committee was shut down.
- LaPierre ousts North as president: On the third day of the 2019 Annual Meeting, North issued a statement that he would not be running for another term as NRA president, explaining that he had hoped to be “endorsed for reelection” by leadership but had been “informed that that will not happen.”
- The NRA sues North in New York: In the weeks following the Annual Meeting, the NRA and Oliver North leveled dueling allegations in a lawsuit in New York State. The NRA accused North of orchestrating a “failed coup attempt” and a “conspiracy… to extort the NRA.” North, in turn, accused LaPierre of using his “total dictatorial control over the NRA” to wage “a retaliatory campaign” against him.
This new suit comes at a time when the NRA is already mired in legal turmoil. It was recently hit with a class action lawsuit, and the organization was already facing charges by New York State’s Department of Financial Services, under investigation by the U.S. Senate and attorneys general in New York and DC, and locked in various lawsuits with former business partner Ackerman McQueen.
These legal difficulties have been extremely costly for the NRA. Wayne LaPierre himself was caught on tape saying that the NRA “took about a $100 million dollar hit” in the last two years, and a recent court filing alleged the NRA paid outside attorney Bill Brewer “over $54 million” in the last two years alone.