The De Facto Purge
July 6th, 2019
June 30th, 2019 NRA Director Timothy Knight announced that he had been removed from all standing NRA committees as a result of his “publicly express[ing] concern over the current NRA leadership and spurious spending.” On July 5th, Director Allen West announced he too was removed from all committees. West’s article is titled, “NRA: National Retaliation Association.” Shortly after West released his article, Esther Quisenberry Schneider announced that she has also been removed from all committees. There is a purge occurring inside the NRA Board of Directors, albeit quietly, and it is being done by those who hold the power against those who have little power.
Allen West, Timothy Knight and Esther Q. Schneider all expressed concern for the direction the leadership was taking the association. West and Knight both expressed concern and did so publicly in May while Schneider expressed her concern privately (until now). They all claim that that is why they were targeted and purged from all standing committees. The ship’s Captain threw them in the brig and demoted them for their concern. My questions is what type of leadership would ever do such a thing?
“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust.”
-John F Kennedy
These three directors are not alone in this purge, I am sure. This isn’t a few people being punished, this is a De Facto Purge. This is the silencing of people who understand their duty to their constituents as in evidence by this recent polland repeated articles calling for Wayne LaPierre’s resignation. It isn’t the first time that those who have expressed concern had the air-conditioning turned off on them. If you know any other directors that have been removed from their committees, please encourage them to speak up.
There are thirty-six standing committees in Article XI of the NRA Bylaws. That is enough committees to assign two directors to each committee. The board’s officers are responsible for assigning committees. Obviously, the board’s officers care little for the efficient use of directors and instead use these committee assignments as a political tool. It is easy to see that the NRA Board Officers are at the heart of the problems and failures plaguing our NRA. Ironically, there had been a special committee created by then NRA President Oliver North, “the Crisis Committee,” but apparently it was dismissed faster than Chris Cox was. Let’s take a look at the Board Officers.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
President Carolyn Meadows – Meadows was placed as the NRA President after Oliver North’s vacancy in NRAAM ‘19. If you are like me you’ll be surprised that Oliver North was only removed from his officer position (President). He is still on the Board of Directors. He has not been removed like Chris Cox was, though North is much more the lightning rod and the sole plaintiff in NRA v. North. Do you know why Oliver North hasn’t been removed from the Board of Directors even while this lawsuit is nearly a month old? You’ll be shocked. Pete Brownell resigned from the Board of Directors. As last year’s Director election went, David Butz was the runner up and has accepted Brownell’s vacancy. If any other director dies, resigns, or it removed the next runner-up to fill that Board vacancy is Mr. “Enemy Within” himself, Adam Kraut. They are willing to keep someone involved in a current, massive lawsuit, and the supposed leader of an attempted “coup”, on the BoD just so Adam Kraut will not be a factor in the NRA leadership.
With the wheels falling off the wagon Carolyn Meadows penned the letter with her past Presidents (minus North and Brownell) to “set the record straight” that everything is fine. I can unfortunately assure Mrs Meadows that with a plethora of multi-million dollar lawsuits and the New York Attorney General investigating potentially criminal dealings within our NRA that her May 22nd letter was about a big a lie as there has ever been. She recently shrugged off a donor’s announcement of withholding $134 million by saying,
“We are disappointed whenever donors choose to suspend their support of the N.R.A., but we hope to win them back.” She added: “People may resist change, but they embrace progress. We’re experiencing that right now at the N.R.A. There’s an energy within the N.R.A. that is hard to describe — and we continue to earn the support of millions of loyal members.”
-NRA President Carolyn Meadows
I fail to see the progress that Mrs Meadows is talking about. Granted, there was a legislative win in Deerfield Illinois in June that was heartwarming for all second amendment lovers, but it didn’t even have the NRA’s name on the lawsuit. Daniel Easterday, the Illinois State Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation were all to thank specifically for that cases’ success. Regardless of the level of the NRA’s involvement, this comes as too little, too late for many disenfranchised NRA members (see comments below article).
Carolyn Meadows’ first public statements following her induction as President of the NRA was a commentary on a U.S. House of Representatives election in Georgia, in which a “minority female” won. It would be nice if President Meadows focused on Second Amendment rights instead of the physical features of a representative elected to congress. Here’s a challenge for you, find a picture of Carolyn Meadows holding, looking at, or touching a firearm. I haven’t been able to find one in all my searching. That’s right: this President of the NRA has not a single picture of her with a firearm. The first of her kind, I suspect she doesn’t care much about a looming silencer ban.
1st Vice President Charles Cotton – Cotton specifically said that the NRA had to “clean its own house” with regards to Wayne LaPierre’s tumultuous time during the Members Meeting and closed “executive session” where LaPierre nearly lost power. I suppose that removing anyone who opposed the establishment, or merely had concerns, is how we’re seeing him “clean house.” The Nominating Committee’s selection of candidates will be the other means of that. It appears that many directors are seeking reelection via petition such as Sean Maloney. Cotton is one of a few directors who requested we redact his email and any other contact information in our effort to create a current NRA BoD contact spreadsheet. Cotton ironically converses with those who see eye-to-eye with him only as is evident in his forum which he runs where he is able to censor anyone that isn’t his strict supporter.
2nd Vice President Willes Lee – Lee is the attack dog. Which makes a stark contrast from the decades old standard operating policy of “not engaging.” Lee takes it much further by engaging and later censoring persons with whom he disagrees. He enjoys attacking, regardless of the validity of concern. He hurls insults such as being “trolls, bloomberg, snark, etc” he even has a catchphrase for blocking NRA members, “Poof.” Lee achieved an officer appointment to the board faster than any other director has. In 2018-2019 Lee and Allen West served as co-Chairmen of the Outreach Committee. I believe this raises more questions on why Allen West was removed, and Lee’s authority in assigning committees.
Willes Lee is a board member of the American Conservative Union Foundation which should put him at odds with Article X Section 6 of the NRA Bylaws. That leaves me curious as to how that discrepancy was addressed (or if it has been addressed). Furthermore, that same NRA Bylaw (Article X Section 6) should make Brewer and Associates ineligible to represent the NRA as their agent due to their contributions to anti-gun politicians. I am very curious how that hypocritical conundrum is allowed to continue.
We need our NRA to be reformed now more than ever. We need it to have strong integrity, be strong, efficient, accountable and to do that we need more directors to display bold integrity, now! This De Facto Purge should be the line in the sand for everyone concerned for the integrity of our NRA, specifically these directors who had previously attempted to ride the fence between the leadership and those voicing concerns. One cannot be accountable by being unaccountable. The time has come for these directors to do what is right instead of what what is easy.