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National Rifle Association

The NRA Exodus: Who Left the Organization During a Year of Upheaval

A list of board members, executives, and other high-ranking staffers who have departed the gun group as Wayne LaPierre consolidated power.

It’s been nearly a year since The Trace documented questionable financial dealings at the National Rifle Association and the organization brought the first of four pending lawsuits against its longtime public relations firm and business ally, Ackerman McQueen.

The unrest at the NRA has prompted many to depart, and we wanted to take stock. We found that at least eight board members, three staff members, three attorneys, and three executives have left the NRA since April. In addition, the NRA did not place the names of three board members on the ballot for re-election this spring. Their terms expire in April.

The tumult at the NRA has something to do with investigations by attorneys general in New York State and Washington, D.C., that could jeopardize the group’s tax-exempt status. But more than anything, the implosion of the NRA’s relationship with Ackerman has driven the turmoil.

The NRA has alleged that when it sought to better comply with New York’s nonprofit laws and requested financial information from vendors, Ackerman balked. The NRA also claims that while he served as the group’s president, Oliver North conspired with Ackerman and other top NRA officials to blackmail and topple the organization’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre.

Some who have parted ways with the NRA pointed to a lack of faith in the group’s leadership. LaPierre pushed others out. In some instances, the circumstances of the departure are unclear.

Our list shows a surge in departures in August, then an apparent slowing. However, the list is based on news accounts and court records and may be incomplete. Please contact us if you know of any recent departures from the NRA that have escaped our notice.  

Timeline: Departures from the NRA Since April 2019

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