Doug Varley Speaks to The Washington Post on the NRA's Federal and State Filings
NRA Money Flowed to Board Members Amid Allegedly Lavish Spending by Top Officials and Vendors
A former pro football player who serves on the National Rifle Association board was paid $400,000 by the group in recent years for public outreach and firearms training. Another board member, a writer in New Mexico, collected more than $28,000 for articles in NRA publications. Yet another board member sold ammunition from his private company to the NRA for an undisclosed sum.
The NRA, which has been rocked by allegations of exorbitant spending by top executives, also directed money in recent years that went to board members — the very people tasked with overseeing the organization’s finances.
In all, 18 members of the NRA’s 76-member board, who are not paid as directors, collected money from the group during the past three years, according to tax filings, state charitable reports and NRA correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.
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“In 25 years of working in this field, I have never seen a pattern like this,” said Douglas Varley, a Washington attorney at Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in tax-exempt organizations and reviewed the NRA’s federal and state filings from 2016 through 2018 for The Washington Post. “The volume of transactions with insiders and affiliates of insiders is really astonishing.”
Varley said he did not see any apparent violations of the law, and noted that the NRA, for the most part, appeared to have properly disclosed the payments.
“But the pattern raises a threshold question of who the organization is serving,” he said. “Is it being run for the benefit of the gun owners in the country and the public? Or is it being run as a business generating enterprise for officers and employees of the organization?”
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