In a revealing court testimony, former NRA finance chief Wilson “Woody” Phillips explained a $70,000 check for a mansion as a safety measure for NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, as reported by Courthouse News Service.
The courtroom disclosure by Phillips unveils the inner workings of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) financial decisions.
In 2018, the organization was involved in financing a $6.5 million mansion in Westlake, Texas, for LaPierre. This move was justified as a necessary safety precaution due to threats against LaPierre’s life. However, the legitimacy of these expenses, drawn from NRA funds, has been under scrutiny.
Phillips, on the witness stand, acknowledged the $70,000 check from the NRA to WBB Investments, an entity established to assist in the mansion’s discreet purchase. Sonya Rowling, a former NRA whistleblower and current finance chief, expressed concern over the NRA’s unregulated spending and identified certain “untouchable” vendors, including Ackerman McQueen, the advertising firm entangled in this deal.
While Phillips claimed the mansion deal was for LaPierre’s protection, he conceded that it lacked full board approval, a requisite for such financial decisions. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against the NRA alleges misuse of donor funds for personal expenses by its executives. Ackerman McQueen, once a primary NRA vendor, was allegedly a channel for such expenditures. The lawsuit and the testimonies reveal deep-rooted financial mismanagement within the NRA.
The legal battle, instigated by the New York Attorney General, implicates LaPierre and other NRA executives in using the nonprofit as a personal fund. The contentious relationship with Ackerman McQueen resulted in a legal dispute costing the NRA $12 million in settlements. This case highlights significant financial and ethical questions within the NRA.
The trial, which began last week, is expected to continue until mid-February. It will likely shed further light on the NRA’s internal financial practices and the ethical implications of its leaders’ actions.