Marion Hammer dodged a bullet

Remember when it came out that the Vichy NRA was paying her hundreds of thousands of dollars for Florida lobbying, and that she wasn’t reporting it as required by law?

$929,000 over 5 years. For working “an average of five hours per week.”

$714.61 per hour. Unreported.

Florida Senate resolves gun lobbyist complaint
After correcting four years of compensation reports for one of the entities she represents, Florida’s top gun lobbyist Marion Hammer has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Florida Senate.

Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, had filed the complaint against Hammer, accusing her of violating Senate lobbying rules for failing to report her compensation for more than a decade.
[…]
“I was told that I did not have any additional filing requirements as a lobbyist. Thus, in good faith I relied upon that advice,” Hammer continued.

Bull shit.I can’t believe they let her get away with that. When I first heard the claim that she hadn’t been reporting compensation. I checked it for myself.

It took me about 1 minute to find what the NRA said it paid her.

It took me about 2 minutes to find her state reports… of no compensation.

I took maybe another 2 minutes to find the applicable state laws.

5 minutes of work that Hammer — lobbying on laws — couldn’t find for a decade. She couldn’t even check the FAQ, which explains that compensation must be reported.

The nicest thing you could say about her claim is that she’s too frickin’ incompetent to analyse and discuss law as a lobbyist, if she can’t even keep up with lobbying law. Which might explain why Florida recently passed several gun control laws.

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What; LaPierre needed more room for busty interns?

Even as news breaks of a class action lawsuit filed against the VICHY NRA for fraud and misspending, we learn that…

NRA mulled mansion for chief executive: report
The National Rifle Association (NRA) reportedly considered buying a $6 million mansion for use by CEO Wayne LaPierre.

The Washington Post reports that documents show that the gun-rights group discussed buying the Dallas-area house for its CEO but talks fell through. The dealings are now under scrutiny by New York investigators as part of an ongoing investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status.

Ackerman McQueen says the idea came from LaPierre, and they were “alarmed.”

The VNRA claims that it was AckMac’s idea as an “investment,” and the NRA killed the plan when it became known to LaPierre. So…

We’re to believe that someone in the VNRA’s public relations company suddenly decided, Hey! You know what would be great publicity for our New York-chartered, Virginia-based non-profit? Let’s buy their EVP a six megabuck mansion in Texas. Everyone will love that!

Either that, or a PR company took it upon themselves to act investment advisors and property managers.

I’m forced to admit that I find AckMac’s line a little more believable.

And I’m sure they were looking for properties with a pool.

Nice intern if you can afford her. Oh, wait. VNRA MEMBERS paid for her.

About those VNRA membership numbers

[Vichy] NRA Memberships Bounce Back In 2018
The report, which was handed out during the group’s latest annual meeting, shows dues went from $128,209,303 in 2017 to $170,391,374 in 2018—an increase of $42,182,071, or 33 percent. It also shows contributions rose from $132,879,299 in 2017 to $165,075,288 in 2018—an increase of $32,195,989 or 24 percent. The rise in dues came ahead of the NRA announcing it had reached 5.5 million members, a record number.

Just as a thought exercise, let’s pretend that all those memberships were $45 annuals.

170,391,374 / 45 = 3,786,474.97

Maybe someone familiar with financial reporting can help me out here. Do multi-year (and life) membership dues paid up front get reported in full for the year in which the money was received, or is it “amortized” over the membership period for reporting purposes?

I’m trying to reconcile that dues number with the claim of 5.5 million members. There could be another 1.8 million members who made their payments in a previous year.

I do find it interesting that my 3.7 million figure matches the 3.7 million magazine subscribers found by Mother Jones.

‘Twould be nice if the VNRA simply issued a report of member totals broken down by type, and how many opted not to take a magazine subscription.

VNRA’s “Intern”

LaPierre seemingly had Ack-Mac paying $4,500 a month in rent for his “intern’s” apartment.

Forty-five hundred bucks. Per month.

First, offhand I can’t recall seeing an internship that provided a free apartment. And did Allen declare that $13,804.84 payment in-kind in her tax filings?

Second, that rent seemed high to me but I don’t know what Fairfax rents are like. So I looked up The Ridgewood II by Windsor. Nice place. The listed rents run from $1,710 (1BR, 1BA) to $3,460 (3BR, 2BA) per month.

For the mathematically challenged, the rent billed to Ack-Mac, and passed on to the NRA to be covered by gullible members, was $1,040 more than the highest rent listed for the place. (There are larger apartments for which you have to “call for rent.)

Not a bad deal for a summer “intern.”

megan-allen
Nice intern if you can afford her. Oh, wait. VNRA MEMBERS paid for her.

Rehabilitating the NRA?

Since I have previously made my opinion on the Vichy NRA pretty clear, I was reluctant to weigh in on the latest controversy. Two columns finally prompted me to speak up.

The starting point for all this — just in case you haven’t kept up — was Mike Spies’ report on the NRA’s financial woes. It appears to confirm many things people have warned of for decades.

Jeff Knox spoke up on the matter.

NRA’s Dirty Laundry Exposed as Pro-Gun Group Cleans House
While the NRA is a powerful communication tool between rights supporters and their elected servants and losing that central conduit would be a significant blow, it would only be a temporary setback.

Mr. Knox focuses on the apparent corruption. He’s overlooking a major point which Mark Walters touches on.

To NRA or Not to NRA
I have disagreed with the NRA many, many times over the years over many issues and no doubt I will in the future. In fact, I nearly tossed my membership a few years back when the NRA here in the state of GA refused to support the GeorgiaCarry.org effort to remove the 140-year-old ban on carrying firearms at a “public gathering.”
[…]
I’ve seen far too many posts on social media, which to me is a joke anyway, from chatroom warriors that are calling for the destruction of the NRA.

Both columns are worth reading in full, but the snippets I quoted are my point of contention.

If the VNRA BOD finally gets off its collective ass and cleans up the financial corruption, it is entirely possible to save the organization. They should not save it.

Yes, I am one of those calling for the end of the VNRA, because financial fraud is the least of the problems. That can be fixed by firing the appropriate people, suing to recover funds, and — I strongly suspect — criminally charging a few.

The real problem is how that “powerful communication tool” and money have been used.

Mr. Walters finally noticed the problem when the NRA wouldn’t help with Georgia SB308. For him, that wasn’t quite enough to make him quit, possibly because it was largely passive inaction by the organization. OK, sometimes one must pick and choose where to dedicate one’s resources. Judgement call; I’d be with Walters on this one. But what Walters didn’t notice until nine years ago is something I’ve been about for decades.

The real issue with the VNRA isn’t corruption or not doing enough to push rights. The problem is what the group actively does to violate rights. NFA ’34, GCA ’68, FOPA ’86. Everyone knows those. It shows how long the rot has existed.

They tried to keep HELLER from going to SCOTUS. They actively killed constitutional carry legislation in New Hampshire. They wrote an “assault weapon” ban in Ohio. They sabotaged an RKBA/free speech case in NH.

I could go on, but let’s skip ahead to 2017, when the VNRA called for the ATF to regulate bump-fire stocks as NFA items because they make semi-autos work like machineguns. (And despite their weasel-worded defense, I haven’t seen a single court challenge from them.)

Then there’s the VNRA’s support for no-due process ex parte protective orders.

Yes, the VNRA is politically powerful. But they aren’t using that power to advance rights. They push gun control. And then they fundraise for cash to “fight” what they imposed on us.

Arguably, the last thing the VNRA did for gun owners was sunsetting the national waiting period… by saddling us with an ineffective NICS which violates the rights of millions of innocent people while still passing thousands of prohibited persons. And making us pay for the “privilege.”

The Vichy National Rifle Association is inherently anti-gun. It sacrificed rights for political power and money a long time ago. That’s what it does. Forcing it to transparently and honestly spend gun owners’ money to violate their rights isn’t “fixing” anything.

For decades, I called on the group to change its ways, and really work for our rights. I made very specific suggestions (and never, ever once received any reply from anyone at any level). Quite a few election cycles later, it hasn’t improved. It got worse.

If reformers haven’t managed to “repair” the VNRA by now, after decades of trying, they aren’t going to succeed now. Many gun owners have an emotional attachment to the idea of the NRA, but it’s time to admit that ideal is gone.

It’s time to pull the plug.

ATF: Volitional vs. Nonvolitional Movement

As we have seen, the ATF, in ruling bump-fire stocks to be machineguns, explained that fingers are triggers, and it’s a machinegun if the finger isn’t moved volitionally. Some folks are confused, because they assumed that the volitional — and coordinated — movement of the off arm to cause the trigger firearm thingamajiggy to engage the finger trigger should count.

No prob. The PhDs in Anatomy and Physiology at the ATF have that covered: It’s only volitional when we say it is.

Thus, as explained in federal court to a science-challenged impaired… oh, hell… fucking idiot judge who bought it:

Volitional Movement

 

Not Volitional Movement

When you get down to it, it ain’t much more of a stretch than the shoestring machinegun.

Thanks, VNRA.