Wayne LaPierre no longer is the National Rifle Association’s chief executive. Over his three-decade-plus tenure, LaPierre both transformed the organization into a political powerhouse and oversaw its descent into scandal, culminating in a New York corruption trial against him, the NRA, and two other current and former top officials. At issue is a pattern of bloated contracts for friendly vendors and luxury expenses charged to the nonprofit that was reported by The Trace and The New Yorker in 2019. On the witness stand this week, LaPierre confirmed the essence of that story, The Trace reports, including details on his cruises in the Bahamas, safaris with Under Wild Skies, and payments to a charity for which his wife served as president.
After an NRA attorney questioned LaPierre about authorizing private flights for his niece, and his failure to disclose the use of private jets to the board, LaPierre agreed that he was “acting outside of [his] authority” with regard to the unilateral decisions he made as head of the organization. “It was not the right thing to do,” LaPierre said that he acted alone and that the board was not aware of his actions. John Frazer, general counsel for the NRA and a co-defendant, testified that LaPierre authorized a 2019 lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, the gun group’s onetime PR firm, without informing him first. The decision to sue, he said, cost the organization millions.