V for Vendetta

Well, the good news is I’ve got even more names to add to our letter to the NRA Board of Directors. The bad news is, I think we’ve gotten all the responses we’re gonna get.

Serving on the NRA Outreach Committee was eye-opening. I learned a lot about how the organization ticks, who the power players are, and where business actually gets done. I don’t think I’ve ever been totally naive about the uphill battle we faced, but I did at least hold on to cautious optimism that there were inroads to be made.

I also got lots of early compliments and encouragement from Willes Lee, the committee chairperson, about my ideas and efforts to truly make NRA Outreach an actual thing and not just a banal platitude or a checked box. I also got compliments and encouragement from Millie Hallow, Wayne LaPierre’s right-hand woman. A few times I even grabbed the ear of WLP himself, when he attended the Outreach Committee meetings and stayed the entire time, seeming to listen intently and seeming to express genuine interest in expanding the NRA’s reach into urban and minority communities.

And then, there was Indianapolis.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you probably know that there’s been a swell of outrage over the NRA’s recent scandals. Far too many to list here. But for the first time, the donor class is now mobilizing against the leadership. And a few directors have been vocal with concerns or even outright opposition to the current leadership, management, and financial stewardship. Specifically, I’m thinking of board members Duane Liptak, Tim Knight, Allen West, and Esther Schneider.

What do they all have in common? Two things. First, they all spoke out against the recent NRA controversies (some more forcefully than others). Second, they all got stripped of their NRA committee assignments. All of them. Well, Liptak did get one little committee appointment; but none of the ones he requested. He was actually serving as chairman of the Education and Training committee, and that spot’s gone. Allen West was Vice Chair of Outreach. Gone. I’ve heard from a few others who voiced concerns about the NRA and were not reassigned to the committees they once served on, but since they haven’t publicly announced anything, I won’t jump the gun.

While I’m not a board member and not a power broker or big time donor by any means, it looks like I can now add my name to the list of folks who lost their committee assignments.

I never got a letter saying I was booted [that’s changed… see updates below], but I never got the standard form letter confirming reappointment, either. I was told by a few board members that no letter means you’re no longer a committee member. Just to confirm and avoid jumping to conclusions, I sent an email to NRA Secretary John Frazer and Outreach Committee Secretary Stephen McCormick. I know them both personally, and they’re usually really good about responding to emails promptly. That was Monday. So far, no response. My mom warned me never to make assumptions, but at this point I think it’s probably safe to assume I’ve been kicked off the Outreach Committee.

John Richardson has been tallying the purges on his blog, No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money. Stephen Gutowski’s also got some great NRA coverage over at the Free Beacon. Both are highly recommended. And the new kid on the block is a start-up nonprofit called Save the Second. I had a small hand in building their platforms, and I think they’ve got some good stuff going – including a member petition to amend the NRA bylaws. More on that soon. Meanwhile, please check out their website and consider adding your name to their petition if you’re a voting-eligible member of the NRA. Clock is ticking on that one, so please don’t delay.

We lawyers are careful to avoid the infamous logical fallacy of presuming post-hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this therefore because of this”). Does the timing alone give me proof that I was ousted because of the letter we sent to the board? Nope, it doesn’t. I suppose we can chalk it all up to coincidence. Right? Right. Pure coincidence. Unless you’re a fan of that dude from the movie V for Vendetta.

UPDATE #1 (7/11/2019): Just got an email response from John Frazer. He confirms that I was not reappointed to the committee. So, no more need to assume. 🙂 I did ask him if he was at liberty to share the reasons why I was not reappointed, but he didn’t address that.

UPDATE #2 (7/17/2019): I’ve now received a formal letter confirming I’m booted. Click the thumbnail below to view it. Well, at least I can now rest assured that the NRA really, really appreciates me (that was sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch it). Meanwhile, the NRA’s newly ascendant Second Vice President has apparently blocked me on Facebook. He happens to be the same guy who gave me all those compliments for my committee service… yeah, that’d be the one and only Willes Lee, Outreach Committee Chairman. 🙂

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