NATIONAL NEWS

NRA names new leadership to replace former CEO found liable for wrongly spending millions

May 20, 2024, 7:11 PM

DALLAS (AP) — The National Rifle Association, looking to repair an image sullied by former leader Wayne LaPierre’s spending excesses, elected Doug Hamlin as executive vice president and CEO on Monday.

“Our association is at a decisive moment in our history, and the future of America and constitutional freedoms depends on the success of the NRA,” said Hamlin, who recently served as executive director of the NRA’s publications. Hamlin said in a statement he looked forward to working with staff to “promote political and public policies that are in the best interest of our members and all gun owners.”

The board of directors for the gun rights lobbying group elected former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia as its new president.

“I have been a fighter my whole life and I commit to boldly fight for our Second Amendment rights on behalf of the millions of NRA members,” Barr said in a statement. “We need to grow our ranks, especially in this election year, and I pledge to focus my attention on doing just that.”

Former President Donald Trump addressed the group on Saturday and received the organization’s endorsement in this year’s presidential election. About 72,000 people attended the 153rd Annual Meetings & Exhibits, the association said.

LaPierre was found liable in February at a civil trial in New York of wrongly using millions of dollars of the organization’s money to pay for an extravagant lifestyle that included exotic getaways and trips on private planes and superyachts. LaPierre resigned as executive vice president and CEO on the eve of the trial.

The jury ordered LaPierre to repay almost $4.4 million to the NRA, while the organization’s retired finance chief, Wilson Phillips, owed $2 million. The lobbying group failed to properly manage its assets, omitted or misrepresented information in its tax filings and violated whistleblower protections under New York law, jurors found.

After reporting a $36 million deficit in 2018 fueled largely by misspending, the NRA cut back on longstanding programs that had been core to its mission, including training and education, recreational shooting, and law enforcement initiatives.

LaPierre’s trial cast a spotlight on the leadership, culture and finances of the over 150-year-old organization that has become a powerful influence on federal law and presidential elections.

John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit which advocates for stricter gun control, in a statement called Hamlin “a longtime insider,” adding that “the NRA’s chaotic infighting and financial doom spiral shows no signs of stopping.”

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NRA names new leadership to replace former CEO found liable for wrongly spending millions