Wall Street Journal: NRA chief says he was pressured to resign

The chief executive of the National Rifle Association told the group’s board he is being extorted and pressured to resign by the organization’s president, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Wayne LaPierre, who has been the head of the NRA for decades, wrote in a letter to NRA board members on Thursday that he refused a demand to resign by Oliver North, the recently installed president of the association.

LaPierre wrote in the letter, “the exhortation was simple: resign or there will be destructive allegations made against me and the NRA.”

North also sent a letter to the board on Thursday, according to the Journal, in which he said his actions were in the best interest of the NRA and he was forming a crisis committee to look at the organization’s finances.

North had previously sent a letter to the board’s executive committee accusing LaPierre of more than $200,000 in wardrobe purchases that were charged to a vendor, the Journal reports.

LaPierre wrote that North called his office to relay that unless he resigned, advertising agency and NRA contractor Ackerman McQueen Inc. was prepared to release a damaging letter to the NRA board, the Journal reports.

“I believe the purpose of the letter was to humiliate me, discredit our Association, and raise appearances of impropriety that hurt our members and the Second Amendment,” LaPierre wrote. “The letter would contain a devastating account of our financial status, sexual harassment charges against a staff member, accusations of wardrobe expenses and excessive staff travel expenses.”

The feud between the two high-profile conservatives comes in the middle of the NRA’s annual meeting in Indianapolis. The NRA’s full 76-member board is set to meet on Monday, and insiders tell the Journal they expect the issue to come to a head then.

It is not clear whether North has the support to oust LaPierre, The New York Times reports.

The NRA presidency has previously been a ceremonial post, but the Times reports North has asked for it to be a paid position.

Contributions to the NRA are lagging, The New York Times reports, and the organization is facing an increasingly well-financed opposition movement in the wake of several mass shootings.

The dispute between LaPierre and North originated in part from a dispute between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen Inc., the Journal reports, which resulted in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the NRA.

In the lawsuit, the NRA claimed Ackerman McQueen did not justify its billings with records, according to the Journal. Ackerman McQueen called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “inaccurate,” the Journal reports.