Michael Conroy / AP
A series of internal National Rifle Association documents were leaked online at the weekend, detailing over six figure spending on clothing and travel expenses for CEO Wayne LaPierre.
Disclosures have prompted members of the board that Allen West speak. On Tuesday, he announced he had called for LaPierre's resignation, and learned that "it is important that the NRA clean up its own home." The second member of the NRA board followed his Facebook page by writing, "it's time for new management."
These developments, combined with a cascade of stories about other instances of unpaid spending on firearms rights organizations, especially former former ranking-and-file employees of NRA.
They told NPR about low wages, pension problems and a culture of fear within the organization that treats ordinary workers as distinct from its leadership.
Especially exploiting the disclosure of enormous costs despite the credibility of facts in the documents obtained by NPR: that the company has underfunded pensions affecting hundreds of former and current employees – even if LaPierre did $ 1.4 million in 2017, according to the group's latest financial disclosure.
"With respect to other nonprofit organizations, he is paid more than anyone else in the field," says Daniel Borochoff, president of Charity Watch, a nonprofit watchdog. "Do they have to pay him or her to do it well? Or are there other executives that they can hire a job as well as at a lower cost? That does not require nonprofits to defend."
Of over 600 Charity Watch track organizations, LaPierre is the eighth highest paid nonprofit leader in the country. If you isolate hospitals or medical professionals, he is the second highest paid, said Borochoff.
This is a level of compensation noticed by former NRA staff, who now speaks to the public.
"I can not think of no other non-profit organizations that fit into their Executive Vice President the kind of salary and benefits that Mr. LaPierre has acquired in how much the employees receive," wrote former 13-year NRA employee Andy Lander in an open letter spread across the entire gun rights community.
Lander added, "I also do not understand how a person like Mr. LaPierre treats people who work for him like his own indentured servants, unless you know the secret handshake, if so you pay very well as you go blindly to giving no objection to people running the organization. "
The National Rifle Association did not respond to many requests for comment on this story. But LaPierre has a huge amount of support from his board of directors.
"Wayne devoted his life to the defense of our independence and as the association leader led Wayne the NRA through the most incredible, hard-won," said the member of the board Carolyn Meadows at the annual NRA meeting last month. "Wayne is the first to say that he is not, about members."
The Meadows were then selected to become president of the organization.
Documents raising questions about the NRA pension plan
Although the organization pays high-ranking executive wages, NRA employees are eligible for a pension is worsening.
NPR obtained a copy of the 2019 National Rifle Association pension document from a source with direct access to it. Brian Mittendorf, who heads the Department of Accounting at Ohio State University, has assisted NPR to review these documents.
They have shown that NRA pension obligations are approximately $ 134 million at the beginning of this year, to meet those obligations.
They also show that the NRA pension situation has become more interfering in the past few years. There are 786 individuals currently in the NRA pension plan, of which 223 are currently employees in the organization.
The welcome at the bottom of a page of the pension report, at one bullet point, NRA said it implemented a freeze on their pension plan in 2018. This means that even though current employees in the plan will not accrue new benefits despite continued employment for the organization. "In fact, this is the most one organization that can do anything to cut pension benefits without the complete completion of its plan," Mittendorf says.
The freeze benefits for employees who participate in the pension plan are different from the one-time $ 3,767,345 supplementary retirement pay received by LaPierre in 2015 according to NRA's public disclosures.
"Indicates that the organization is not set aside enough funds to cover employee retirement of rank and file," says Mittendorf. "That means that the financial problem of the organization places rankings and filing the future of employees at risk. Organizations need to be changed to cover them … The above people will be safe financial employees are at risk. "
Complaints about low wages and a 'culture of fear'
Former employees said the National Rifle Association had a poor working environment.
"There was a culture of fear," said Vanessa Ross, who worked there from 2008 to 2011, managing the group's services for disabled people. "Once you put your head up and start asking questions, that when I feel everything – then it seems like I am pianist. I am considered to be if this person is a terrible person, that I am not doing my work well. "
Ross said he was fired by the NRA after he raised questions about reductions in shot services of unscrupulous groups.
Some former employees spoke about the struggle to meet the salary of an ordinary NRA employee's salary, a subject Lander was also touched by his open letter.
"We are extremely unpaid," added Steve Hoback, who worked on the NRA training programs from 2009 to 2012. He said he started at $ 28,000 per year and grew to $ 32,000 per year after three years of work.
When he left, due to failure of the high executive compensation of the organization, he was offered more than double the salary to work on training for another company, he told NPR.
"People under the buck do not earn a lot of money. People spend money making money, but not much compared to a typical unusual DC," added Aaron Davis, who worked on NRA fund raising from 2005 to 2015. "I'm guessing about 10,000 dollars less than they want in a comparable position elsewhere."
Ongoing investigations and indigenous disorders
In the midst of all high-spending disclosures, the National Rifle Association has dealings with the launch of a new New York Attorney General's investigation and many of its congressional interviews with its finances. [N] 19659008] And the NRA must fight against indigenous peoples like Rob Pincus, a gun rights advocate among those who wish to cast off the current leadership of the National Rifle Association's recent annual meeting. sends requests for money, saying they might get their money in their legal fight in New York. They understand all this drama saying that they need money, while they spend money on everything that does not even become justified, "says Pincus." Employees know about it inside for some time, but now membership begins to understand it. "