Leaked documents show the National Rifle Association racked up millions in legal bills in the last year.
The documents include a memo written by the group’s former president Oliver North and NRA official Richard Childress to the NRA’s general counsel and audit committee chairman that warned of high legal fees posing “an existential threat to the financial stability of the NRA.”
“The Brewer invoices are draining NRA cash at mindboggling speed,” North and Childress wrote in the memo that the Daily Beast verified as authentic. “This is a fiscal emergency.”
Attorney Bill Brewer represents the NRA and defended his fees in April. “We’re a premium law firm, we make no bones about that,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The memo, dated April 18, 2019, one week before North was ousted as the organization’s leader after clashing with CEO Wayne LaPierre, said Brewer charged the NRA more than $24 million since they retained him last year. Some of that was covered by a settlement against an insurance company, though the NRA was still responsible for more than $18 million.
North and Childress said the NRA is paying about $100,000 in legal fees per day.
“$97,000+ a day is a stunning amount of money for any organization to pay,” they wrote. “It cries for an outside, independent review.”
The pair said they had asked for an outside audit of the fees but LaPierre refused the request.
NRA officials pushed back on the claims and suggested it was being pushed by people with personal agendas.
“The memo on the Brewer firm’s legal fees is inaccurate — it reflects a misinformed view of the firm, its billings, and its advocacy for the NRA,” said Charles L. Cotton, first vice president and chairman of the NRA’s Audit Committee.
“It is troubling and a bit pathetic that some people would resort to leaking information to advance their agendas. This has no bearing on the board’s support of Wayne — and the work the NRA does to protect America’s constitutional freedoms,” NRA president Carolyn Meadows said.