Oversight Subcommittees Refer NRA Leadership’s Alleged Financial Fraud for Investigation

Oct 16, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 16, 2019)—Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent letters to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) referring public reports of alleged financial wrongdoing by the National Rifle Association (NRA). 

“Public reporting of self-dealing, private inurement of earnings, and possible financial fraud on the part of the NRA and its senior leadership represent serious allegations that demand an independent and thorough investigation by the IRS,” Connolly and Raskin wrote.  “According to recent reporting, several NRA board members have personally profited by rendering services to the very organization for which they are expected to provide independent oversight.”

According to public reports and the NRA’s tax filings, 18 of the 76 members of the board—nearly a quarter—received payments during the past three years from the 501(c)(4) that they oversee.  These reported payments include the following:

  • $610,000 to board member and former president Marion Hammer for consulting and lobbying services;
  • $255,000 to board member Lance Olson for fundraising and outreach;
  • $400,000 to board member Dave Butz for firearms training and outreach;
  • $28,750 to board member Bart Skelton for contributing to NRA publications;
  • $50,000 and $23,500 to companies affiliated with board member Ted Nugent and former board member Craig Morgan, respectively, for musical performances; and
  • $3.1 million in sales made to the NRA Foundation by Crow Shooting Supply, formerly led by former board member and former president Pete Brownell.

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) prohibits excess benefit transactions (transactions exceeding fair market value) between social welfare organizations and disqualified persons, such as board members.  The IRS and DOJ are in a unique position to review these allegations against the NRA and its senior leaders and determine if these serious allegations of fraud and misconduct have merit.

“Our Constitution affords the country’s nonprofit organizations tax exempt status so that they may work to improve society,” wrote Connolly and Raskin.  “Abuses of that privilege are unacceptable.”

Click here to read today’s letter to the Internal Revenue Service.

Click here to read today’s letter to the Department of Justice.

116th Congress