Joshua Powell, pictured being interview by ABC, is breaking ranks with the NRA to support claims made by New York’s AG that leaders misused funds
A former NRA insider who is being sued along with others with misappropriating funds has spoken openly of how its leaders are corrupt to promote his new book.
Josh Powell has been accused along with Wayne LaPierre, the association’s president, of allegedly misusing funds from donors to support their lavish lifestyles. New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, filed the lawsuit earlier this month, vowing to bring an end to ‘decades’ of abuse.
The NRA claims it is a politically-motivated move to try to cripple Trump’s election chances and starve the Republican party of funds. Powell is, at the same time, releasing a book to accuse LaPierre and others in charge at the NRA of misconduct.
He was LaPierre’s chief of staff but has broken ranks with the association and is now speaking out in an attempt to expose executives’ wrongdoings.
In an interview with ABC News, he said: ‘I think the NRA faces a massive threat. I think that the attorney general is really at the tip of the iceberg in understanding what’s gone on at the [NRA] for 30 years.
‘Gun owners across America should be horrified by what I saw inside of the NRA.’
He did not speak about the allegations against him in the James’ lawsuit.
‘I can’t speak too much that. My attorneys are talking with the attorney general’s office on it. I will tell you, I’m very comfortable with the facts of the truth,’ he said, adding that James was right in her pursuit of the other defendants.
‘Her suit, frankly, doesn’t go nearly far enough.
‘The NRA is an absolutely horrible steward of members’ money. Nobody puts their money into that association to see it mismanaged the way that it was. It is an abomination.
NRA president Wayna LaPierre. He has denied all the accusations against him and the association
He has now shifted his opinion to support stronger checks on gunowners.
‘When you’re standing in the middle of America and you’re saying, “No way are we going to allow any changes to this country as it relates to guns,” and you’re not a culture of solutions in solving gun crime and gun crime is a problem, then you are the problem.
‘The NRA has blood all over its hands.’
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit against the NRA earlier this month
Powell worked for LaPierre directly and said he once ‘looked up to him’ but that he is deliberately stoking a national debate to fuel donations.
‘I think the biggest transgression of the NRA under Wayne was that he turned the NRA into an organization of ‘No,’ in response to any effort to quell gun violence.
‘He helped to create and fuel the toxicity of the gun debate over the years, until it became outright explosive.
‘Wayne in essence bowed to the most militant and extreme faction of the NRA’s five million members.
‘Whenever the organization fell short in its funding drives, Wayne would ‘pour gasoline on the fire’ to ignite donations. And that strategy worked, time and again,’ he wrote in his book.
His book supports James’ claims.
‘In spite of Wayne’s attempts to paint the other side as the ‘Elites,’ he himself was the epitome of elitism, robbing every $45-dues-paying member to cover the costs of his own extravagance and his shameful mismanagement of a multi-hundred-million-dollar association,’ he writes.
The NRA and LaPierre deny the allegations in the lawsuit. They counter-sued, claiming the entire debacle is a political stunt.
In a statement responding to Powell’s allegations, Andrew Arulanandam, managing director, NRA Public Affairs said: ‘This is a fictional account of the NRA, period.
‘Mr. Powell was effusive in his praise of NRA leadership and the Association’s mission – right up until the day he was fired. He has now reversed course on every position he ever took during his time with the NRA.
‘The facts are, Mr. Powell was replaced as an officer in December 2018, relieved of all of his professional obligations in fall 2019, and, thereafter, terminated in January of this year for misappropriation of funds.
‘Those facts tell you all you need to know about the veracity of the book and Mr. Powell’s motivations.
‘Powell had zero input or influence on the NRA’s political or legislative strategy. He would desperately try to insert himself into important meetings – but was always rebuffed.
‘He was never invited to the meetings or a part of the conversations that really mattered.’
The NRA responded angrily with its own lawsuit, claiming James is unfairly targeting the organization because of its political affiliations