The National Rifle Association is not in great financial shape, following years of scandals involving allegations of wild spending and a wee bit of alleged tax fraud by Wayne LaPierre, financial mismanagement, and a civil case brought by New York AG Letitia James accusing members of the board of helping NRA leaders to enrich themselves with donor cash.
Those public-spirited busybodies at the watchdog group CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) got their hands on an audit of the NRA’s 2021-22 finances, showing that, as the CREW crew states in the report’s lede:
The National Rifle Association is bleeding money and members […] Last year, the organization saw its worst fundraising totals in more than a decade, fueled by member dues that have fallen to lows not seen since the early 2000s. The fall has been so swift that the gun organization’s income from its members has been halved in just six years, while its legal fees have remained stratospheric.
The report includes this helpful chart showing the growth trend in NRA membership dues and other revenue since 2010. Traditionally, the NRA saw growth during Democratic presidencies, since the libs are always coming for your guns, but membership tended to level off or drop when a perceived “safe” Republican was in office.
Part of that normal trend shows here: A revenue bulge that grows larger and larger during the Obama administration, since that monster wanted to ban freedom, especially after the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012 and LaPierre’s infamous “only a good guy with a gun” speech. Unlike with other Republican presidents, though, the bulge carries over into the early Trump years, when armed paranoia was actively promoted as national policy.
But whoo-golly, look at the dropoff since 2018, even after the 2020 election (if you believe such things) of another Democratic president. Not even the fear of Joe Biden coming for your guns was enough to offset the steady loss of confidence in the group’s scandal-plagued leadership. Between the NRA scandals and Republicans’ increasing radicalization, it’s no surprise that a lot of gunhumpers have switched their allegiance to groups that are more extreme than the NRA, like Gun Owners of America and the like.
So yeah, while the NRA is still bringing in a lot of money — more than $213 million in 2022, of which $83,274,950 came from member dues — that’s a drop of 52 percent in total revenues from the group’s richest year, 2016, and almost 59 percent less in member dues than in that flush election year. (All numbers adjusted for inflation.)
How bad is a tad over $83 million in member dues? Pretty darn bad!
A CREW analysis of NRA dues going back to 2004 could not find a single year where dues ever went below $100 million, in inflation-adjusted terms.
And then there’s all those damn lawsuits since 2019, including paying out a “nearly $12.4 million settlement payment” in a fight with the NRA’s former public relations firm:
In all, the NRA spent nearly $43.8 million on administrative “legal, audit, and taxes,” which is down from the nearly $46.8 million it spent in 2021, but still far higher than the $4.3 million it spent on the same costs in 2017, when its overall revenue was more than $319 million.
If you’re into percentages, CREW points out that back in 2017, just one percent of NRA revenues went to cover legal costs. By 2021 and 2022, legal expenses made up 20 percent of the group’s revenues, which, oops, had fallen more than 40 percent in the same period.
And as Yr Wonkette’s Liz Dye (and a few others, but Liz is our ace) has covered again and again, the NRA just can’t seem to keep itself out of legal trouble, including that big New York case, which led the NRA to try to declare bankruptcy in Texas, with no luck.
The NRA Went To Texas Bankruptcy Court To Avoid New York AG, And This Judge Can’t Stop Laughing!
May 12, 2021
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre Blames Murdered Children For Mega-Yacht Trips, But Only Because He Is Lying
April 6, 2021
NRA’s Dana Loesch Got Paid A Million Dollars To Make Videos Watched By A Thousand People Each
May 16, 2019
Golly, it’s all very sad and we may just have to go have lunch, goodbye.
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