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BOMBSHELL: NRA donors have been funding fancy wardrobe for Wayne Lapierre for 15 years

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Wayne LaPierre, Jr. is executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

According to an extensive report, the National Rifle Association was using money from their donors to fund the lavish lifestyles of their board members and vendors.

The Washington Post revealed the findings Sunday in a bombshell report about the misuse of funds being uncovered in the organization.

For example, a former pro-football player was on the national board and paid $400,000 to do “public outreach” and “firearms training.” A writer in New Mexico was given $28,000 for writing articles for an NRA publication. Another board member sold ammunition to the NRA for an “undisclosed sum.”

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The organization has been dealing with an internal battle for several months, as two factions are fighting about the future of the group. The recent president was dethroned, and CEO Wayne Lapierre is back to steering the direction of their work.

The NRA has drawn a lot of attention for their considerable donations that were outside of the norm in 2016. Progressive activists and political analysts have wondered if the money was coming from a foreign entity so that the funds could be spent to support Donald Trump. At least 20 Russian donors were uncovered for donating to the group.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year week that LaPierre racked up hefty expenses totaling $275,000 in “personal charges” at a single store in Beverly Hills. He spent approximately $253,000 in luxury travel to Italy, Budapest, and the Bahamas. He also paid $13,800 to rent an apartment for a summer intern.

The NRA has 76 members of its board of directors who are not paid for their service. However, previous reports speculated at least 17 of those managed to score cash from the group over the last three years, the Post reported. However, payments were received by about one-quarter of the members.

CEO Wayne LaPierre was one of the primary beneficiaries to the funds, scoring hundreds of thousands in charges from a Beverly Hills clothing boutique as well as foreign travel.

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“NRA officials said LaPierre’s wardrobe allowance began 15 years ago and that he was urged by Ackerman to make the purchases for his public appearances, a practice that they said has since been discontinued,” reported the Post. “They said his travel was necessary for fundraising. The apartment was secured for a three-month summer internship when university housing typically used was unavailable.”

“I will be the first person to get in your face about defending the Second Amendment, but I will not defend corruption and cronyism and fearmongering,” said lifetime NRA member Vanessa Ross.

Previous leader, Oliver North, was ousted for trying to stage a coup against LaPierre. He was set to make millions off of a public relations agency contract between the NRA and an Ackerman McQueen, LaPierre alleged. According to North, however, the organization’s lawyer was scoring “extraordinary” payments for legal fees that totaled in the millions.

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Board members don’t earn a salary for their service and have no financial responsibilities to raise funds. There are no term limits on their positions.

The Post spoke to a tax expert who said that these payments could be a conflict of interest for those tasked with monitoring the finances of the group.

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“In 25 years of working in this field, I have never seen a pattern like this,” said Washington attorney Douglas Varley, who specializes in tax-exempt organizations. “The volume of transactions with insiders and affiliates of insiders is really astonishing.”

“But the pattern raises a threshold question of who the organization is serving,” he continued. “Is it being run for the benefit of the gun owners in the country and the public? Or is it being run as a business generating enterprise for officers and employees of the organization?”

The story is developing…


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2020 Election

REVEALED: Far-right extremists are circulating plans to lock down Arizona streets if Trump is re-elected

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On Saturday, The Arizona Republic reported that far-right paramilitary groups are circulating plans to lock down neighborhoods in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area in the event that President Donald Trump is re-elected, supposedly to police left-wing protesters.

"In Arizona, the head of the Prescott-area chapter of the Oath Keepers group, which recruits military and law enforcement officers, has warned residents to be prepared to protect their neighborhoods from feared extreme left-wing protesters who would be upset should President Donald Trump be re-elected," reported Richard Ruelas. "Part of that the pro-Trump group'splan involved closing streets and assigning monitors to control access, according to a planning document shared with The Republic."

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2020 Election

America’s crimes against humanity aren’t on the ballot this year — but they should be

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The 2020 presidential election is a life-and-death decision for thousands of people vulnerable to COVID-19, for a globe under the assault from the climate crisis, and for the future of American democracy. And yet for all the urgency, the political campaign still suffers under the weight and stench of bullshit.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Philosopher Harry Frankfurt warns in his bestselling pamphlet "On Bullshit" that "bullshit" is more injurious than the blatant lie. One reason among many is that bullshit blurs the line between reality and fiction, offering a manipulative incorporation of truth to strengthen its own capacity to persuade. Absolute falsity, in contrast, is obvious to anyone with minimal awareness of the facts. When the Trump administration recently declared that one of its grand achievements was "ending the pandemic," most people laughed in disbelief. This is a lie fit for consumption only from inhabitants of a collective similar to the Rev. Jim Jones' notorious People's Temple settlement in Guyana.

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2020 Election

Conservatives are hopping mad that their clumsy Hunter Biden smear is a flop

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

In 2016, Steve Bannon did an amazing job rolling out the Clinton Foundation nontroversy. He gave The New York Times and CNN early access to Peter Schweizer's book, Clinton Cash, and the outlets gave it mainstream credibility. Later, when the Uranium One story was thoroughly debunked, it didn't matter. The foundation remained under a pall of fuzzy suspicions.

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