Longtime National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre has told the group’s board he is being extorted and pressured to resign by the organization’s president, Oliver North, over allegations of financial improprieties, in an extraordinary battle roiling one of the nation’s most powerful nonprofit political groups.
In a letter sent to NRA board members late Thursday afternoon, LaPierre, the group’s CEO and executive vice president, said he refused the demand. Instead he called on board members to “see this for what it is: a threat meant to intimidate and divide us.”
North sent his own letter to the board late Thursday evening, in which he said his actions were for the good of the NRA and that he was forming a crisis committee to examine financial matters inside the organization, according to people familiar with its contents.
North previously had sent a longer letter to the board’s executive committee detailing new allegations of financial improprieties involving more than $200,000 of wardrobe purchases by LaPierre that were charged to a vendor, according to the people. One of those people described LaPierre’s letter as an “angry reaction” to North’s longer letter.
The behind-the-scenes brawl is taking place amid the gun-rights group’s big annual meeting, at which President Trump spoke Friday.