The embattled National Rifle Association has spend $100 million on legal fees, according to a secret recording of a January board meeting reported on by NPR.
In the meeting, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is critical of investigations by attorneys general of New York and Washington, D.C., saying they are using "the power of weaponized government." He compares the probes to communist governments in China, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.
LaPierre said membership has remained steady, but the NRA has been forced to make $80 million in cuts to survive.
"I mean, we kinda reframed this entire association. We took it down to the studs," he says on the recording.
In addition to board members, NRA staff members and some NRA members were also in attendance, according to NPR.
Ron Carter, vice president of Save the Second, a group of NRA members seeking financial reform and accountability in the NRA, was among those attending, though NPR said no one in his group was responsible for supplying the recording.
"The repeated statement from LaPierre about the $100 million cost to the NRA should have come with an apology for having manifested the situation," Carter said. "The lack of accountability is troubling for many members."
NRA leadership has been under fire since then-president Oliver North resigned in protest amid press reports that LaPierre, the longtime face of the organization, was allegedly using funds on a lavish lifestyle.
An attempt to oust LaPierre failed.
The NRA is also suffering from ongoing legal battles with its former public relations firm Ackerman McQueen. According to a brief filed by the firm on April 15, the NRA has paid outside legal counsel "over $54 million" over the last two years.
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