Speed Reads

NRA in Disarray

The NRA considered buying a $6 million mansion for CEO Wayne LaPierre. The details are hotly contested.

The National Rifle Association planned to buy a roughly $6 million mansion in the Dallas area last year for use by CEO Wayne LaPierre, with help from the NRA's former longtime advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, multiple people tell The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The NRA and Ackerman McQueen, locked in a bitter legal fight, don't dispute that discussions took place to buy the mansion, but in competing statements Tuesday night, they offered sharply different accounts of who originated the idea, its purpose, and why the deal fell apart.

Ackerman McQueen said LaPierre asked the firm for help buying the mansion, it refused, and "actions in this regard led to Ackerman McQueen's loss of faith in Mr. LaPierre's decision-making." An attorney for the NRA, William Brewer III — brother-in-law of Ackerman McQueen CEO Revan McQueen — said the ad firm broached the purchase as a real estate investment, and it "was vetoed by the NRA after its full terms — including Ackerman's intent to spend NRA money — became known to Wayne LaPierre." Ackerman McQueen responded that the assertion it drove the mansion deal is "patently false" and "the truth is that Mr. LaPierre decided to proactively propose his plan to leave his current residence and purchase a new residence," he "sought the involvement of Ackerman McQueen," and "Ackerman McQueen refused to proceed with this transaction."

The records about the failed deal are being scrutinized by the New York's attorney general's office as part of its review of the NRA's tax-exempt status.

The NRA paid LaPierre $1.44 million last year, and leaked documents show that the NRA, via Ackerman McQueen, paid $542,000 million for private jet trips for LaPierre, designer suits, and rent for a summer intern's apartments. Also, at least 18 of the NRA's 72 board members reportedly received money from the group over the past three years, a period of time in which the NRA posted losses, cut programs, and froze employee benefits.