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‘It’s Very Easy To Raise Money Off Of Fear:’ The NRA, According To A Former Inside

A convention goer passes the NRA desk at the 2015 NRA Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
A convention goer passes the NRA desk at the 2015 NRA Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Alleged corruption within the National Rife Association hasn’t exactly been a secret

But the scope of the organization’s problems got new attention after New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, filed a lawsuit to dissolve the organization in August 2020

One of the people the Attorney General named is Joshua Powell, former NRA senior strategist andCEO Wayne LaPierre’s chief of staff. 

Powell was fired from the organization in January. Since then, he published a book:Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed, and Paranoia within the Most Powerful Political Group in America.” In it, he made some big claims about how the organization was run. 

He spoke to NPR’s Brian Mann about his work there.

The term pour gasoline on the fire is from Wayne’s lips to God’s ears and was used regularly. If you’re pandering to the fringe of the gun movement and you beat it into their head that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are going to jump out of a black helicopter and take their guns and jackbooted thugs are just around the corner, it’s very easy to raise money off of fear.

What does he make of the group’s influence? And what else did he see while he was there? We ask him about that and more.

We reached out to the National Rife Association about this show. 

“Let’s get this straight – a self-confessed wrongdoer who was terminated for cause is now glorifying himself, hawking books, and blaming everyone else? The facts are that Mr. Powell was fired for cause – after his financial abuse was discovered by the accounting staff at the NRA,” says Andrew Arulanandam, managing director, NRA Public Affairs. “This is a fictional account of the NRA, period.”Arulanandam continued, “Mr. Powell’s words speak for themselves. As recently as last year, he was a full-throated supporter of Mr. LaPierre, the NRA, and its Second Amendment advocacy. Today, he has been outed as someone who abused the NRA for years – directing contracts to family members, using NRA money to fly his family to Palm Beach, and other abuses.”Arulanandam added, “Here are the important points: the NRA is in great financial shape, enjoying record support, and moving on from the cloud of this individual and a handful of other fiduciaries who took advantage of the trust placed in them.”

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame