Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 5:45AM

Oliver North says NRA is smearing him to avoid scrutiny

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Oliver North, the retired Marine who was pushed out as president of the National Rifle Association in a dispute within the gun-rights group, said in court documents filed Thursday that he was thwarted when he tried to raise alarm bells about alleged misspending and denied that he tried to oust the organization's longtime top executive.

The documents detail concerns North said he raised over several months and the efforts he said he took to try to have NRA spending audited and reviewed by an outside, independent entity. He said the red flags began to emerge this past spring when he heard that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had received tens of thousands of dollars in clothing, private jet travel and other perks from the group's longtime marketing firm, Ackerman McQueen; he also has questioned money being paid to the law firm that has represented NRA in its fight against that firm.

North said in the filings that each time he raised concerns about potential financial misconduct, his efforts were "thwarted" by LaPierre and the NRA's lead counsel, William A. Brewer III.

"LaPierre — demonstrating his total dictatorial control over the NRA ... stopped all of North's inquiries and prevented others at the NRA from looking into the concerns that North raised," he said in the court documents. "This included a retaliatory campaign against North, waged by LaPierre and Brewer, in an effort to stop North from responsibly addressing the allegations against LaPierre and the multimillion-dollar monthly payments to Brewer."

The documents were submitted as part of a lawsuit the NRA filed against North last month in New York state Supreme Court objecting to his request to be reimbursed for legal fees. North has received subpoenas related to the NRA lawsuits against Ackerman McQueen as well as a U.S. Senate investigation into NRA operations.

"The NRA views this as a misguided attempt to deflect from reality; Col. North played a central role in an extortion scheme that caused the issues for which he now seeks indemnification," Brewer said in a statement. "The NRA will not look the other way when it appears that crimes against the (NRA) have been committed by people motivated by their own self-interests."

The NRA has been embroiled in legal battles and internal disputes on several fronts over the past year. Besides North's departure as president, the NRA's top lobbyist, Chris Cox, recently resigned after he had been placed on leave for what LaPierre claimed was his role in seeking to oust him. Just weeks before the NRA's annual meeting this past May, the NRA filed a lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma-based public relations firm that has earned tens of millions of dollars shaping the gun lobby's talking points.

The NRA has accused Ackerman McQueen of refusing to hand over financial records to account for its billings. That has taken on greater importance as the attorney general in New York, where the NRA is chartered, has launched an investigation into the NRA's operations, a probe that threatens its status as a non-profit.

Part of the turmoil revolves around Ackerman McQueen's billings, with some NRA members and board directors questioning whether they were getting any value for the money. In 2017 alone, the NRA paid the firm $40 million. North has a contract with Ackerman McQueen for a show called "American Heroes" to air on NRATV, the NRA's online TV station that was created and operated by Ackerman McQueen.

In recent weeks, the NRA shuttered NRATV, deciding to air only previously recorded episodes while it examines whether to keep it in operation. North said in the court filings that the NRA's lawsuit and its unwillingness to pay Ackerman McQueen means he's not receiving promised payments for the show, which he left Fox News to join.

The NRA lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen claims North's contract and work for NRATV posed a conflict of interest. But the documents filed by North claim LaPierre not only knew about the deal but encouraged it.

North also claims that a crisis management committee created to look into NRA operations was shut down by LaPierre and Brewer. He also expressed outrage at what the NRA has been spending on legal fees, claiming it has shelled out nearly $20 million from March 2018 until this past February.

In a statement issued through the Brewer law firm, North's successor, Carolyn Meadows, denied that North was blocked from serving a second term as president. Rather, she said, he stepped away after he tried to "extort" LaPierre and she was a witness to the "ultimatum" he delivered.

She also called the crisis management committee a contrived controversy that came only as North's contract with Ackerman McQueen was being scrutinized.

"The two had millions of dollars at stake when they embarked upon this campaign," Meadows said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Oliver North says NRA is smearing him to avoid scrutiny
Former NRA President Oliver North says in court documents that the gun lobbying group is trying to smear him in retaliation for raising questions about its operations
10:05PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
9:46PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Turbulence injures dozens on Air Canada flight to Australia
Intense turbulence strikes Air Canada flight to Australia, forcing the plane to land in Hawaii; 37 injured
9:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump applauds far-right social media provocateurs
President Donald Trump is applauding far-right social media provocateurs even as he concedes that some of them are extreme in their views
8:34PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump administration plans immigration enforcement operation
The Trump administration is moving forward with a nationwide immigration enforcement operation targeting migrant families
8:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
LA police chief aims to wipe out minor warrants for homeless
The Los Angeles police chief calls homelessness the "humanitarian crisis of our generation" and calls it a public health and safety concern rather than a law enforcement issue
8:17PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Indians' Carrasco not slowing down as he fights leukemia
Indians' Carrasco grateful for support after being diagnosed with leukemia
8:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
Police report: Ex-NFL star Mark Rypien says he hit wife
Former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien has acknowledged to a Washington state police officer that he struck his wife
8:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
Disney cancels premiere after death of star Cameron Boyce
Disney Channel has canceled the red-carpet premiere of its movie "Descendants 3" after the death of 20-year-old star Cameron Boyce
6:32PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
David Bromberg fears huge violin collection must be split up
David Bromberg, a master of stringed-instrument Americana, says a deal to sell his massive collection of historic violins to the Library of Congress has fallen through
11:34AM ( 11 hours ago )
Man arrested in UK after climbing Buckingham Palace gates
London police have arrested a man who climbed the front gates of Buckingham Palace while Queen Elizabeth II was in residence
11:02AM ( 11 hours ago )
Taylor Swift shakes off drama with fun concert performance
Taylor Swift headlines Amazon Music's Prime Day Concert in New York City and shakes off drama with fun performance
10:03AM ( 12 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Nike keeps plans for Arizona factory despite controversy
Nike is going forward with plans to make soles for Nike Air shoes in a Phoenix suburb even though Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey last week blocked state money for the facility when Nike pulled a flag-themed shoe from the market
6:59PM ( 3 hours ago )
Teachers union sues DeVos over embattled loan relief program
One of the nation's biggest teachers' unions is suing the U.S. Education Department over a program that's meant to forgive student loans for public workers but has been beset by problems
6:36PM ( 4 hours ago )
Dow Jones industrials cross 27,000 points for first time
A turbulent day on Wall Street ended in the record books Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 27,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 index hit another all-time high.
6:36PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Gibraltar arrests tanker captain, chief officer
A spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police says officers have arrested the captain and chief officer of a supertanker suspected of breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria
12:09PM ( 10 hours ago )
French trial accusing Orange of moral harassment wraps
A trial in which French mobile phone company Orange, its former CEO Didier Lombard and others have been accused of moral harassment linked to a spate of suicides between 2006 and 2009, ended Thursday.
11:53AM ( 10 hours ago )
ABC's 'How to Get Away with Murder' to end after next season
It will be case closed next season for "How to Get Away with Murder," with its upcoming sixth season to be its last.
11:16AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Turbulence injures dozens on Air Canada flight to Australia
Intense turbulence strikes Air Canada flight to Australia, forcing the plane to land in Hawaii; 37 injured
9:47PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
9:46PM ( 56 minutes ago )
2020 Democrats paint contrast with Trump on immigration
Four Democratic presidential candidates promise major changes to U.S. immigration law
9:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Air Canada cabin bloody after turbulence
More passengers are describing the harrowing incident with violent turbulence that diverted an Air Canada flight to Honolulu Thursday
9:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Governor seeks federal declaration due to Barry
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has asked the Trump administration for a federal declaration of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Barry's expected landfall late Friday or early Saturday along the state's coast
9:10PM ( 1 hour ago )