The NRA sued NRA TV, saying its 'patience has run out' in bitter, unusually public dispute

(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The NRA is suing the longtime vendor that produces NRA TV, accusing the firm of hiding details on how it spends the gun-rights organization's money and obscuring its financial relationship with NRA president Oliver North. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Virginia, is "a stunning breach within the normally buttoned-up organization," The New York Times reported Monday, and it could lead to North's ouster, the end of NRA TV, or a permanent rift with Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma ad company that runs NRA TV and has worked closely with the NRA for more than three decades.

NRA TV has been widely "perceived by the public as the voice of the NRA" since Ackerman McQueen created it in 2016, the NRA's complaint says, and the Times reports that at least two prominent NRA board members have expressed alarm that NRA TV has strayed far beyond gun rights and into warnings about race wars, salvos at the FBI, and incendiary antics like putting Thomas the Tank Engine in a Ku Klux Klan hood.

The proximate cause of the dispute, however, is NRA concern about financial shenanigans at Ackerman, including questions about whether the NRA's $40 million a year pays for Ackerman's staff when they work for other clients, and its alleged refusal to hand over financial records on things like out-of-pocket expenses "that lacked meaningful documentation of NRA approvals, receipts or other support," the complaint says. "The NRA's patience has run out," the complaint adds. Ackerman says it provided the NRA's auditors with all requested documentation.

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Behind the scenes, The Wall Street Journal reports, there's "an unusual battle unfolding" between "a small group of pro-Ackerman McQueen directors" on the NRA's 76-member board and "other board members and an outside NRA attorney," William Brewer III. Brewer is the son-in-law of Ackerman co-CEO Angus McQueen and brother-in-law of its CEO, Revan McQueen. You can read more at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

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