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Expect More Scrutiny of the NRA Board of Directors This Year

US Marine Corps Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North speaks at an NRA convention in Dallas, Texas, May 4, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Indianapolis, Ind. — As mentioned in today’s Morning Jolt, this year’s annual meeting of the National Rifle Association arrives with internal disputes and controversies, with some board members unhappy with the programming on NRATV and the organization filing a lawsuit over access to documents involving spending decisions at the NRA’s public-relations firm Ackerman McQueen.

The elections for positions on the NRA’s board of directors usually only interests diehard members, but the NRA’s board is under greater scrutiny with the ongoing concerns about how the organization spends its money.

Earlier this month, the NRA announced the preliminary results of its 2019 mail-ballot elections for the NRA Board of Directors — a mix of familiar names such as Oliver North, Ted Nugent, Allen West, Bob Barr, and former NBA star Karl Malone, as well as lesser-known activists and figures in the movement. Two of the reelected members — Marion Hammer and Willes Lee — expressed exasperation with Ackerman McQueen’s NRATV earlier this year in the pages of the New York Times, contending the programming had drifted away from its intended focus on Second Amendment issues.

The official results, including final vote totals, will be announced Saturday. In addition to the 75 board members elected by mail, members in attendance in Indianapolis have the opportunity to elect a 76th board member, for a one-year term, from among the candidates who were not elected on the mail ballot. Some members are pushing for an “outsider,” contending that the organization has grown too complacent about how its spends its money and getting sufficient bang for the buck.

Meanwhile, both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will speak tomorrow at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and probably the largest venue for the NRA’s “Leadership Forum” ever. Despite some grumbling from gun owners about the bump-stock ban enacted earlier this year, the president will probably get the same reception he’s gotten the two previous years — enthusiastic applause as Trump gives his usual stream-of-consciousness recitation of whatever’s on his mind that day, with occasional references to the Second Amendment and gun rights.

Beyond the president and vice president, the political figure with the most at stake tomorrow is probably Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, up for reelection later this year and greeted this morning by the uncomfortable news that he’s the least popular governor in America, at least according to the Morning Consult survey. Still, Kentucky is a broadly GOP-leaning state, and Bevin will be touting his recent signing of legislation that expanded concealed carry rights.


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