National Rifle Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre said on Thursday that the organization's president had attempted to oust him in a presumptive blackmail attempt to highlight apparent discord within the influential arms rights group.
In a letter to the board of the NRA, LaPierre, Oliver North, claimed a former Lieutenant Colonel of the Marine Corps, who was perhaps best known for his role in the Iran-Contra affair, urged him for alleged to withdraw financially.
"He was cast by a member of our board on behalf of his employer and the admonition was simple: Resignation or destructive charges are made against me and the NRA," wrote LaPierre in the letter released Friday by The Wall Street Journal
La Pierre, who is also the vice president of the NRA and has been a member of the organization for decades, said he refuses to comply with the threat and added that he was "alarmed and disgusted" by the situation.
The magazine reports that North, who became president of the NRA last year, defended himself in his own letter to the board on Thursday, saying that his actions were "for the benefit of the NRA." North previously wrote a lengthy letter to the executive committee of the NRA Board of Directors, which claimed that LaPierre made more than $ 200,000 in clothing purchases and charged them a sale fer.
Sources familiar with the matter said the magazine said LaPierre's Thursday letter was an "angry response" to North.
The back and forth is apparently fueled by a growing gap in a decade-long relationship between the NRA and the Ackerman McQueen advertising agency, the Journal said. The NRA filed a lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen in Virginia this month, alleging that the law firm was not transparent in order to justify its bills. Ackerman McQueen claimed in a statement to the Journal that it met the requirements, calling the lawsuit "frivolous, inaccurate, and intended to damage our company's reputation." The Journal reports that last year the agency ran an NRATV documentation program that, according to LaPierre, costs "several million dollars a year".
LaPierre describes a phone call between one of his co-workers and North who took place Wednesday, when North allegedly suggested that Ackerman McQueen was ready to release an "allegedly harmful letter to the entire NRA panel."
"The letter contained a devastating account of our financial status, sexual molestation of employees, charges of cloakroom costs, and excessive travel expenses," wrote LaPierre. But then Col. North stated that the letter would not be sent if I resigned as your Executive Vice President immediately. If I supported Col. North's continued tenure as President, he said he could "negotiate" an "excellent retirement" for me. "
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
LaPierre wrote After the call, he was told by others that he had "to withdraw or smear the NRA's lawsuit against 19459038." A spokesman for Ackerman McQueen declined to comment on the magazine.
LaPierre alleged that the claims were made The companies produced by the advertising company were fabricated "conveniently" and addressed in the NRA lawsuit and claim for accurate books and records.
"I believe that our board and its dedicated members will understand this as what it means: a threat to intimidate and share us," he wrote. "I decide to fight and hope to bring 5 million members."
The turmoil was published on the same day that President Trump spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.
The Journal reports that the back-and-forth could reach a crescendo on Monday when the entire 76-member board of the NRA convenes.
Trump declines another global arms deal during NRA speech Stage-worthy scandal in which Oliver North was portrayed as a witness to the congress