One Man’s Perspective On Wayne LaPierre

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

From a reader, The Firearms Patent Attorney:

Poor Wayne.  No one complained that he earns over a million dollars a year leading the NRA ($5M according to Wikipedia).  No one paid attention to whether or not he flies in private jets to NRA events – I don’t know but I assume so.  Questionable but tolerable.  I try to fly first class to industry events and amortizing a $1000 ticket over a hundred meetings at the SHOT Show or NRA Annual Meeting makes it a good investment in reduced stress when every bit of positive energy helps.  If Dallas-area attendees ever want to link up to share a private jet I’m happy to make arrangements.

Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered.  Leaked documents show that Wayne received hundreds of thousands of dollars in private overseas jet travel, including the Bahamas and Italy (where I understand there was a brief appearance in an NRA video).  A $4000/month apartment for a stunningly blonde “summer intern.”  But what got me was the clothing.  The Wall Street Journal reported:

“Wayne LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a Beverly Hills clothing boutique, $18,300 for a car and driver in Europe, and had the agency cover $13,800 in rent for a summer intern, according to newly revealed NRA internal documents.”

I got curious about the clothing and learned both to my pride and my horror that Wayne and I wear the same brand of suits, the unpronounceable Ermenegildo Zegna (“ZAY-nyah”).  The only difference is that I paid for mine (actually, it was an extravagant Christmas gift from Karmen) for about the cost of a fine custom 1911 from a top maker.  You’ll see me in it essentially every day of SHOT, NRA, and NASGW for the next ten years (and probably for ten more years with patched elbows!)  I can afford to change my shirt and tie every day, but not the suit.

So, I was irritated to think that all the regular “end users” that populate the aisles of the NRA show, and who buy the products that keep our industry alive, are paying for the million-dollar exec’s luxury clothing.  Buy your own clothes, dude!  I don’t care if you have to look good on TV – Buy your own damn clothes from your own salary!

As an aside, I did rather well in my taxation classes in law school and recall vividly that under no circumstances is clothing considered a deductible business expense (safety gear and otherwise unusable uniforms aside).  Which makes me idly wonder if Wayne’s accountants are scurrying to file amended returns including the value of as taxable income as I presume one must – my “Zegna” was paid for with after-tax savings just like all your own clothes.

But it gets worse, much worse.

[ … ]

It turns out that blood is thicker than water.  Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors was founded by William A. Brewer III in 1984 and has just 15 attorneys listed on their website.  Doing the math, a $1.5 million monthly bill averages out to $100,000 per attorney, but of course we know that’s not how things work.

Then I learned from a cranky NRA member on Facebook why this small firm might have had an inside track to land the NRA’s plum case: Brewer’s father-in-law is CEO of Ack-Mack, the NRA’s high-dollar PR agency!  Again, I don’t fault the law firm for taking advantage of family ties, and they might well be the best choice for the case whose issues I haven’t even looked into and don’t yet have an opinion on.

But, I’m more worried if the NRA is making BIG decisions in the right way for the right reasons.  Did Wayne himself make the call to steer the eight-figure plum case to the kin of the company that jets him around the world and fills his closet with the finest suits?  Or did the Board make this call, fully informed of all the relationships and possible personal interests?  I hope the latter – maybe one of the 76 Directors can let me know.  Were other firms considered or was it just a remarkable coincidence that the best law firm in the nation to handle the matter was so closely related to the PR firm that received $40,000,000 from the NRA in 2017?  It may be that the law firm is handling more than the legal dispute – they tout PR capabilities so maybe are handling some of Ack-Mack’s duties – I’m only speculating and have no idea.

Sidebar: When the NRA gets its act together again can we please have it stop with the embarrassing and exploitative marketing tactics?  I have to assume that Carry Guard is a terrible insurance choice that exploits the fears of ignorant consumers, and that no sensible business person would opt for.  Same for the cozy relationship between the gold -hawkers on the NRA Magazine cover and taking up precious display space at the NRA Annual meeting exhibition hall – no investment advisor would dream of suggesting investing in rare gold coins.  Precious metals may have a place in a portfolio, but those guys in gold jackets make my skin crawl when I think of how naïve customers think they are making a good “investment.”

And it goes on, and on, and on, including donations to Hillary, and “last year to Beto O’Rourke in his race against stalwart Second Amendment supporter Ted Cruz (my Senator).   And maximum donations (over $10k) to Hillary in 2008 and before, and even to Al Franken.”

We all knew that it was bad with the NRA becoming so festering that the pimple simply needed to burst its puss before it could ever heal.  This analysis takes a deep dive into the puss.

But I do have one comment.  I’d rather have a good 1911 than a stitch of clothing any day.


Comments

  1. On June 4, 2019 at 10:13 pm, JoeFour said:

    Just a point of clarification — the following sentence (3rd paragraph from the bottom of the post) is referring to donations made by Mr. Brewer of the law firm hired by the NRA:

    “And it goes on, and on, and on, including donations to Hillary, and “last year to Beto O’Rourke in his race against stalwart Second Amendment supporter Ted Cruz (my Senator). And maximum donations (over $10k) to Hillary in 2008 and before, and even to Al Franken.”

  2. On June 5, 2019 at 8:57 pm, dad29 said:

    You can be arrested for going naked with a .45 in hand.

  3. On June 5, 2019 at 9:27 pm, Fred said:

    Did he shred the documents yet?

  4. On June 6, 2019 at 10:22 am, June J said:

    One NRA director touts Brewer as the best attorney in the nation to fight the NY justice system.

    No word from the judge who already kicked Brewer off one NRA case.

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This article is filed under the category(s) National Rifle Association and was published June 4th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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