What about the NRA Board of Directors Legal Counsel?
“With proper legal protection in place, would the Board be braver? Would they be able to do more to push reform? Would they be able to regain control of the organization for The Members?”
By Rob Pincus
For several years, the issue of the Board of Directors having their own legal counsel has been contentious and convoluted. While there is officially a Board Counsel, he hasn’t been very engaged in working on behalf of the Board Members.
Much attention has been focused on the extraordinary amount of money being spent on the services of William Brewer’s firm to defend the NRA against the investigations of the NY AG’s office and the multi-million dollar lawsuit with the former tail-that-wagged-the-dog PR Firm Ackerman-McQueen. The issue of inadequate Board Counsel since things exploded into turmoil may be far more important than many people think. With proper legal protection in place, would the Board be braver? Would they be able to do more to push reform? Would they be able to regain control of the organization for The Members?
Amidst the many Resignations of Board Members since the tumultuous Member’s Meeting in 2019, there is good reason to believe that some Board Members have felt that they have been put in legal jeopardy by the actions of the NRA’s Leadership, both civilly and criminally. At least one Board Member is currently being sued by the NRA for trying to help the organization clean up its act. He was denied use of the Board’s Counsel and a judge ruled that the NRA doesn’t have to pay his legal fees involved in the internal fight. Finding out that Board Members working on behalf of The Members that elected them have to pay their own legal fees makes one question the purpose of the Board of Directors having separate counsel from the organization in the first place. There are also questions about just how separate the Board’s current lawyer is. Over the past few years, there have been many changes for the NRA’s legal team, most of which have resulted in a consolidation of power under Brewer’s firm.
In 2019, the Board’s longtime counsel, Steven Hart, was removed from his position, apparently after challenging the way in which the Brewer legal team was handling things. He has been very critical of Brewer and his tactics… unfortunately, Hart is also credited with originally bringing Brewer in. He was replaced by William Davis, who was not in the firearms industry or affiliated with the NRA prior to the assignment. It might be more than a coincidence that he did work with Brewer on a big case involving FLIR a handful of years ago. He lives in Wisconsin and, to my knowledge, has done nothing of note for the NRA, much less Board Members trying to fix the organization in his almost 2 years as Board Counsel. I can’t recall hearing him speak at any of the Board Meetings, nor do I believe he has even been present at them. If he’s honestly representing Board Members in any significant way, no one is talking or writing about it… and we still have board members resigning.
Last year, a leaked recording featured Wayne LaPierre saying the troubles that his leadership caused the NRA cost over $100,000,000. I didn’t need to hear the recording, because I heard him say it no less than 3 times with my own ears during various committee meetings during the Winter Board Meeting in Virginia. We now know that the Brewer Firm had billed the NRA over $50 Million at that point. Estimates are that the current bill with Brewer reaches 9 Figures, which includes the dubious investment in the Bankruptcy Gambit that seems doomed to fail. If you don’t understand why that is so, check out the articles at Creditslips.org, they spell it all out clearly. As of last week, Brewer’s stranglehold on the NRA Legal Fight may be weakening, as the organization had to backpedal a bit and propose a different firm to represent them in Bankruptcy Court. That only happened after the Department of Justice had to point out that Brewer’s Firm had “Disqualifying Conflicts”. While that may seem like a win for those with concerns about Brewer’s legal acumen, the whole bankruptcy play seems like the final act of conniving treachery for those who have never trusted his intentions. Let’s not forget that Brewer is the angst-ridden son-in-law of Ack-Mack Patriarch Angus McQueen. Many believe he’s been manipulating a befuddled LaPierre and fueling a “ civil war within the NRA” for his own gain this whole time.
One good thing that can come from the bankruptcy maneuver is that the court may appoint a trustee to oversee the NRA during the bankruptcy proceedings and the restructuring. At this point, that would be better than having the case dismissed. That Trustee will almost certainly remove all power & control from Wayne LaPierre and his cabal of hand picked Officers. That might give the legitimate NRA Board Members still remaining a chance to fight back. The opportunity to step up and regain control of the organization is more likely to be taken if they have proper counsel, of course. Maybe that will come with the changes that seem imminent.
The goal of Save the Second remains to see the NRA reform from within. The damage that has been done from within is immense… but we still believe that the NRA is capable of restructuring and should not be dismantled from the outside by those who wish to do (more) harm to the cause of Gun Rights in the US.