National Rifle Association Board Elects New CEO as It Works to Get Back on Track

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
May 21, 2024US News
National Rifle Association Board Elects New CEO as It Works to Get Back on Track
People try out firearms at the National Rifle Association (NRA) exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, on May 18, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The National Rifle Association (NRA) Board of Directors elected a new president, executive vice president, and CEO during a May 20 meeting, the day after its 153rd Annual Meetings and Exhibits closed in Dallas, Texas.

The board released a statement announcing former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr was elected president, and Doug Hamlin is executive vice president and CEO.

Mr. Barr is an attorney who represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2003. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for president in 2008.

In the statement released Monday, Mr. Barr vowed to help restore the NRA after what many see as years of decline.

“I thank my colleagues for their support of my election as NRA President. We need to grow our ranks, especially in this election year, and I pledge to focus my attention on doing just that,” he is quoted as saying.

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) speaks
Former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) speaks during a press conference to announce the creation of a group known as the, “Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances” in Washington on March 22, 2005. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mr. Hamlin replaces Wayne LaPierre, the longtime face of the NRA, who resigned last January just as he was going to trial in New York accused of financial misconduct.

Andrew Arulanandam, an executive and head of general operations for the NRA, stepped in as interim CEO and executive vice president after Mr. LaPierre’s resignation.

Mr. Hamlin served as Executive Director of NRA Publications before being selected as executive vice president and CEO. Prior to joining NRA in 2014, Mr. Hamlin had a long career in the publishing industry, the NRA press release states.

“I am truly humbled to be elected,” stated Mr. Hamlin. “Our Association is at a decisive moment in our history, and the future of America and constitutional freedoms depends on the success of the NRA.”

As one of his first official acts, Mr. Hamlin re-appointed Randy Kozuch as the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and Joseph P. De Bergalis, Jr., as the executive director of NRA General Operations.

This year, the NRA membership voted to create the position of chief compliance officer, which Robert Mensinger was elected to. The new role was created in response to revelations of corruption and mismanagement at the Second Amendment advocacy organization.

In addition to the accusations made against Mr. LaPierre and others by New York officials, District of Columbia Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb sued the NRA Foundation.

Mr. Schwalb accused the foundation of disregarding “its duty to protect its donors’ contributions and to operate independently, instead allowing top executives at the association to funnel millions of dollars worth of tax-deductible donations into the organization to compensate for increased spending on ‘unreasonable expenditures.’”

The foundation settled the lawsuit before it went to trial last April.

The 2024 National Rifle Association
The 2024 National Rifle Association (NRA) exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, on May 17, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

During the meeting in Dallas, outgoing president Charles Cotton said the organization finds itself at a pivotal moment. The veteran trial lawyer told the assembled membership that the NRA has been “fighting for its life for the last six years.”

Mr. Cotton said the NRA as an entity was unfairly labeled as corrupt when, in fact, the organization was being robbed. He said the judge in the New York case made statements to that effect.

“The NRA is the victim, not the perpetrator,” Mr. Cotton said.

Last February, a New York jury found the NRA’s former CEO, Mr. LaPierre, and its chief financial officer, Wilson Phillips, liable for financial misconduct.

The jury found that Mr. LaPierre abused his position by spending millions of the organization’s dollars on luxury trips and expensive clothing, among other things. He was found liable for $5.4 million in damages ordered and to pay $4.35 million.

Mr. LaPierre resigned in January, just as the civil case was going to trial.

Meanwhile, Mr. Phillips was ordered to pay $2 million in damages for failing to administer charitable funds properly and violating state laws that protect whistleblowers.

In response to the ruling, the NRA said it had been “victimized by certain former vendors and ‘insiders’ who abused the trust placed in them by the Association” and noted it had implemented a string of corrective changes following its internal probe into the claims.

“NRA members should be heartened by the NRA’s commitment to best practices, and we will continue to amplify our compliance record in the pivotal next phase of these proceedings,” Mr. Cotton said at the time.

Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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