Financial documents show the NRA is living 'paycheck to paycheck,' and ended 2018 $10.8 million in the red
- The NRA's 2018 financial report reveals more details about the financially troubled organization's income and spending.
- It is the latest revelation about the politically prominent group's internal turmoil, which has shaken its leadership and roiled its membership.
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The National Rifle Association's 2018 financial report shows that the gun-rights organization has spent increasing amounts on administrative costs while slashing its outlays on training programs and political advocacy, according to The Washington Post, which obtained the financial documents.
The documents, prepared by its external auditors, indicate that the NRA's spending has increased faster than its revenues have risen and that it has run a deficit for the past three years.
- Overall, the NRA and affiliates had $412 million in revenue and $423 million in outlays in 2018, after $378 million in revenue and $379 million in spending in 2017, according to The Post.
- Costs that have risen include travel and entertainment - from about $8.7 million in 2017 to $10.1 million in 2018 - and legal and audit spending, spiking from $12.9 million in 2017 to $33.5 million in 2018.
- The NRA has cut spending on some bread-and-butter programs: Funding for gun safety and marksmanship programs fell from $42.6 million in 2017 to $32.7 million in 2018. Midterm election spending last year fell to $9.4 million from the $27 million spent in 2014.
- Brian Mittendorf, an Ohio State University accounting professor who examined the 2018 report, told The Post that the documents depicted the organization like "a person living paycheck to paycheck."
- The reduction in gun training alongside increased administrative spending "has me incensed," Steven Hoback, a NRA life member, told The Post.
The report comes after several reports about infighting and other signs of turmoil within the organization.
In April, Oliver North resigned as NRA president; a letter from North read aloud at the group's annual meeting at the end of that month described the group as in a "clear crisis" over internal disputes and opaque financial practices.
The letter appeared to reveal a long-simmering dispute between North and the NRA's longtime CEO, Wayne LaPierre. LaPierre has accused North of trying to extort both LaPierre and the NRA.
Reports of lavish spending by LaPierre - like nearly $275,000 in personal charges at a men's store in Beverly Hills - have prompted state investigations of the NRA's nonprofit status. The group is also facing congressional probes in relation to possible ties to Russia.Leaked internal documents, verified by media outlets in May, also revealed details about the group's financial distress, showing that the NRA's mounting legal bills posed "an existential threat" to its financial stability.
In an open letter posted on the shooting-sports site AmmoLand this month, NRA instructor Don McDougall criticized the organization and called for action to right the ship.
"I speak for the 100,000 NRA members that do the heavy lifting," McDougall wrote. "I speak for the boots on the ground and volunteers that make the NRA what it is. Wayne, you're losing us. So I'll say it again, clean up your act."