NRA’s former No. 2 official Joshua Powell describes ‘decades of fraud, corruption’ inside lobby group
The NRA’s former second-in-command has a message for the New York attorney general who has launched an investigation into the powerful gun lobby.
It’s worse than she thinks.
“She’s only at the tip of the iceberg,” said Joshua Powell, former chief of staff to Wayne LaPierre, the longtime head of the National Rifle Association. “When she sees below the water line, what she’ll find is decades of fraud, corruption, no-bid contracts to the tune of not tens of millions but hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s far worse than, in my opinion, what she has on paper at this point.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James last month filed a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of the NRA, the nation’s leading gun-rights organization and an influential ally of President Donald Trump. She also sued four current or former NRA executives, including Powell, seeking millions in restitution. Now Powell has written a book, “Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed, and Paranoia within the Most Powerful Political Group in America,” being published by Twelve next Tuesday. In an interview with USA TODAY, he indicated he wants to cooperate with James’ investigation.
“I would say that we are absolutely in conversations with the attorney general at this point,” he said. The lawsuit accuses Powell of misusing NRA funds, including hiding payments of $30,000 a month in consulting fees to his wife. In the interview, he denied financial improprieties, saying he was “very confident and comfortable with the truth” about his own actions. Fabien Levy, the attorney general’s press secretary, declined to comment.
Powell depicted the NRA as raising millions by cynically stoking fears of looming gun restrictions, then squandering that money on contracts, consultants and what he called LaPierre’s “billionaire lifestyle” of private planes and designer clothes. Among other things, the NRA explored buying a $6 million mansion in a gated community near Dallas when LaPierre became concerned about his safety after a notorious school shooting in Parkland, Florida.