We’ve posted before on the NRA IRS Form 990, for 2020. We recently found a the site where you can download those with the New York CHAR forms (which require disclosure of a nonprofit’s fundraising contractors) as well. That led to some startling discoveries.
The CHAR forms require disclosure of major outside fundraising companies and fundraising consultants (the consultants are defined to be a company that “does not solicit or handle contributions but limits activities to advising or assisting a charitable organization to perform such functions for itself.” A fundraising consultant is someone who doesn’t raise funds, just gives you advice about fundraising.
Up through 2013, NRA reported one outside fundraiser, Infocision (which was keeping around half of what it brought in), and no fundraising consultants.
In 2014, a fundraising consultant first appears: “Allegiance,” which starts off being paid $480,000 a year, on a two-year contract. In 2015, this becomes $790,000 on a seven-year contract, and in 2018, $1.07 million on a ten-year contract. In 2019 and 2020, $1.08 million. A million dollars a year for advice?
So what is this Allegiance, whose advice is worth millions? The New York form gives its address as 11250 Waples Mill Rd, Suite 310, in Fairfax — in other words, NRA’s own headquarters. Its phone number is given as (703) 267-1000, the NRA main switchboard. If its advice was worth a million a year you’d think it could afford its own phone number and receptionist. Maybe even its own office? Or webpage?
An internet search turned up little, beyond its Dun and Bradstreet listing — indicating it had one employee.
A timeline: In 2013, NRA had no fundraising consultants, in 2014 it had this mysterious Allegience. The next year, NRA suddenly hired a bunch of fundraising consultants. From 2015 to 2018, NRA paid a fundraising consultant called “HWS” between $265,000 and 710,000 a year. HWS turned out to be Wayne Sheets, former head of NRA Foundation. NRA also hired fundraising consultants “501(c)(3) Solutions” and “McKenna and Associates,” paying them together one to two million a year.
But what of this Allegiance? The 2020 CHAR form gives (for the first time) a clue: it describes the company as “Allegiance DBA [doing business as] Membership Advisors.” Hollywood producer David McKenzie, who lent LaPierre his yacht for vacations, owns a company named “Membership Marketing Partners,” which received $11 million from NRA in 2019. The Form 990 for that year shows “Membership Marketing Partners” address as — 11250 Waples Mill Road, suite 310, the same suite as this “Allegiance.” It appears that “Allegiance” is just an excuse to transfer another million a year of members’ money to Mr. McKenzie.
It looks as if NRA leadership — meaning LaPierre, or whoever was then pulling his puppet strings — in 2014 discovered that they could use “fundraising consultants,” which NRA had never before had, as a way to shovel millions a year to Wayne LaPierre’s friends and those who will do him favors.