The NRA has been hit with a slew of negative headlines of late over internal fighting and exorbitant spending, and this probably won't help on either front. A Washington Post investigation finds that the group has been directing big-money payments to members of its own board. The newspaper reports that 18 of the NRA's 76 directors have collected such payments over the last three years, including Ted Nugent, who was paid $50,000 for appearances at the 2016 NRA convention. In other cases, board members picked up money for consulting or other services, or through their businesses. For instance, the NRA Foundation paid $3.1 million for ammunition and supplies to a company controlled by director and former president Pete Brownell.
The upshot of the story is that such payments may not be illegal, but they raise questions about how effectively the board can oversee the group's finances if its own members are collecting handsome paychecks. The criticism is coming not just from outsiders. "If these allegations are correct and 18 board members received pay, you’re damn right I am (concerned)," says board member and former NBA player Karl Malone. "If it’s correct, the members who pay their dues should be damn concerned, too." An NRA spokesperson says this is a non-story, characterizing the number of financial deals between the board and individual directors as "small." Because the gun-rights movement is a relatively close-knit community, it's logical that the group often has to deal with its own board members for business reasons, says Andrew Arulanandam. (Read more NRA stories.)