The National Rifle Association saw revenue continue to decline in 2021, when it collected $227 million, the lowest figure in a decade and a 20 percent drop from the year before, according to the group’s most recent IRS filing. Back in 2016, the organization took in a record $367 million.
The filing shows that the NRA, which has downsized and cut costs in recent years, still finished 2021 in the black, with revenue exceeding expenses by $10 million.
In May, The Trace reported that NRA member dues had plummeted to $97 million in 2021, the lowest mark in 15 years. The IRS filing shows the same dues figure. NRA insiders and reports suggest that member revenue continues to be weak this year.
The filing shows total legal expenses of $36 million and identifies the law firm Brewer Attorneys & Counselors as the NRA’s top vendor, having been paid $20 million. The Trace has written about controversy regarding the firm and its founder Bill Brewer, who has led the NRA’s legal defense against New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose 2019 lawsuit alleges that NRA brass looted the nonprofit’s assets for their own benefit. The case may go to trial this spring.
The group’s 2019 and 2020 IRS filings disclosed that NRA assets had been improperly diverted to benefit top NRA leaders, including CEO Wayne LaPierre. Though the number of such excess benefit transactions revealed in the 2021 filing is fewer and the dollar amounts much less, the document states that LaPierre purchased a vehicle in 2016 that the NRA was leasing. The vehicle was worth $12,018, the filing states, and the deal “may have constituted an excess benefit to Mr. LaPierre,” who “has repaid these excess benefits to the NRA, plus interest.”