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Col. Willis Lee on the NRA

At last month’s annual meeting, Willis Lee was 1st Vice President, president Charles Cotton was term-limited, and so Lee would have been elected president by the board. That didn’t happen, our best guess is that Lee was seen as “unreliable” by NRA’s “leadership” — that is, he wasn’t 100% blindly loyal, and they expect 100% of a man who might become president.

So, Bylaws & Resolutions Committee suddenly came up with a bylaws amendment that allowed Cotton to serve an additional term. Then the Nominating Committee not only didn’t nominate him for president, they didn’t nominate him to stay as 1st VP. We’re told that Lee was completely blindsided by both moves. The passivity of the board is breath-taking. Most would have flown to Indianapolis prepared to elect Lee, been told on arrival, no, “leadership” (whoever that is) wants him purged, and immediately reversed their position lest they stand out.

We’ve been going through Col. Lee’s Facebook page, and have singled out the entries relating to the NRA scandals and his own treatment, arranging them in chronological order. All bolding is our own emphasis, not his, and italics are our editorial comments.–

April 5: Questions from members and Board about email from Wayne to staff [discussing relocating HQ] which went public and sadly created a lot of angst.

No longer involved in (potentially) selling our iconic N Virginia HQ & moving to __________. 

SO, just in case ….. Whenever in the area, making a point to visit our renowned NRA Museums, shoot at our great 15-lane 50-yard NRA Headquarters Range, take a pic of the building. Y’all visit and do same. 

And, if they don’t sell, you still had a great day at NRA HQ.

April 13: So this is what Indianapolis looks like way-too-early. Yesterday was busy and long. One of many topics:

For, reasons, I resigned as a named member of the SLC, the Special Litigation Committee, after 2 1/2 years focusing (mostly) on the attack against NRA members by NYAG. Reasons.

Another: comedy of errors? Or not? My surprise in By Laws committee that they were surprised that I don’t support the By Laws change proposal bc they were told ‘leadership’ supported the change and none of the committee confirmed w leadership before sprinting to meet the deadline to get it to Board members. Lot of apologies & stammering flying around the room. More later on this. Jeepers. [Typical. One person tells everyone “leadership wants this” and everyone rushes to carry it out, without even asking just who wants it and why. Eds.]

More: Refreshingly candid remarks, questions, answers at Heston Society dinner. Sorta stuff you can’t discuss otherwise. Enjoyed these great NRA supporters.

Today is already being a great day.

April 14: Eggshells. Or, simply doing what we’re told?

Board members (most) not asking me anything about the proposed By Laws change to allow Charles to stay in office another year in a change of office terms we’ve enacted only once in 152 years- for Charlton Heston.

Nor asking how or why By Laws acted on faulty(?) info to prep, pass, distribute proposal at last last min. 

No one curious, which makes me curious about what I don’t know about this move.

Campaigning in the background, tho no questions. Interesting.

April 14: No discussion among officers of reconstituting Strategic Litigation Committee (since I resigned). Perhaps tomorrow. 

-Lots of stuff going on. 

-Always on the road, W asked me to do more. 

-Many other Board members want to SLC. 

Great Annual Meeting. (No plan to leave tonight- inside joke.) Keep you posted. #Not cool. Board member tells of being told that I was good w By Laws change proposal. Stop the untruths, this is not healthy.

April 15 (Ammoland article) When this hit stuff flies around without an understanding (or explanation) of the distinct and different duties & responsibilities of being an NRA officer vs member of SLC (Special Litigation Committee) the picture is distorted. 

Many Board members, perhaps most, are unaware or simply never thought to think about it. Some confusion bc for 1 1/2 years they were same members.

April 15: Extending the terms of NRA leaders who had major insider roles during the NYAG allegations raised questions online, though not from Board members. Vociferous support & unprecedented vote whipping by leaders who all were running NRA during the considerable NYAG allegations was noticed in the media.

Also noticed is NRA bosses’ “wisdom” to push out the only leader who was NOT here during the NYAG allegations. Hmmm.

Inside: several (seniors) who campaigned for the By Laws change were unknowingly adversely affected. #duped.

April 16: Two years after the judge dismisses NRA Bankruptcy suit is a good time to renew the (my) pledge to never, again, keep secrets from the Board of Directors. Transparency fosters trust.

April 16: Wonderful annual meeting. Huge success for freedom. Thanks to each and every one who made this happen, and especially all who attended and supported NRA’s Defend the Second statement event. You’ll hear soon just how huge, it is a loud message. Thank you to Indiana patriots.

(Image of Nominating Committee report) Got this slipped under the door tonight. Oh. Congratulations to the (new) team nominated to be officers. (Uh, no one told me they were in Exec Session.)

More on this later bc …. another early tomorrow morning. (PS- I’m still in Indianapolis, inside joke.)

April 17: Certainly of importance, tho also politics. Through the night, received messages & DMs. Some fun or funny, some biting – towards me and/or NRA, some complementary. Friend’s call before o’dark-thirty (of all nights to NOT be on silent) asking if I were still attending Board meeting.)

Sad but best text “Oh. No. They Ollie’d you, at annual meeting, in Indianapolis. lol” in a reference to us dumping North here in 2019. Folks, not yet. Update later.

April 19: Four year sprint as NRA VP. Interesting twist to weekend drama (story coming): time to smell the roses. Otherwise, I’d already be in Maryland w Florida next week. Hope they sprint. Tell them to sprint.

April 19: Congratulations to NRA officers elected at Monday’s Board meeting.

NRA members, friends, & media asking about drama behind NRAAM. Received comments, questions, & jokes (too soon?).

My role changed. Resigned from Special Litigation Committee handling NYAG allegations about NRA, staff, Board. Resigned from Relocation Committee handling potential HQ sale & move. Not elected President because of their rules change. No longer First Vice President.

Took a step away … reasons. Still active on Board of Directors.

Tho way awkward, ensured the drama was minimized (refused to do another Indy 2019 NRAAM). Result: Less travel, or I’d already be in Maryland & next week to Florida. No longer speak for the NRA; freedom to speak as an NRA member on the Board. More later.

April 21: We had a great NRAAM thanks to NRA staff & volunteers, 77k patriots, incredible sponsors.

As for drama: “Given the current state of the NRA and them dealing with a legal battle in New York, we’re not likely to get any further information until the litigation is over. “

Not everything has to do w litigation, just some.

April 24: At each Board Meeting, officers give a report to the Board (of Directors). I began the First Vice President report w many kudos to staff and volunteers for an amazing NRAAM.

Then, “NRA provides the gold standard of firearms safety, education, and training, and of protecting the right to defend ourselves from murderers, rapists, criminals, and from tyranny. That’s common-sense firearms policy.

Since we last met, 2022 ended with election work and lots of committee and ‘special’ committee activity, more events, and several conferences.

Many ask what we’re doing now. I’ll run quickly through the first quarter and potential follow-on planned activity.”

I’ll give more excerpts this week. As a teaser: it is a lot to cover & every minute I expected the mic to be cut. They should have.

April 25: Transparency. Officers provide reports to members at our 3xyear Board meetings. Most are fluffy rhetoric, board officers don’t get out much to members and supporters. I was asked what I was doing. More coming in another post. Overview (it’s long) of 1Q23:

Many ask what we’re doing now. I’ll run quickly through the first quarter and planned activity.

After our January Board meeting, I joined our team with good success at SHOT Show. Last year, Charles asked me to spend time with Wayne, as would he, while NRA navigates myriad internal and external challenges. In Northern Virginia, we’ve met on litigation, budget, programs, finances, relocation, what we believed was digital marketing, membership, museum, building sale, direct mail program, public relations, security, range, personnel, and high dollar contracts. SLC meets weekly, most weeks we have multiple short-notice legal meetings. Perspective is helpful, as I WAS NOT PRESENT DURING THE PERIOD OF THE NYAG ALLEGATIONS. That trial is now pushed later in the fall, at least, with an appeal expected. We discuss Del’aquila, Dycio, Under Wild Skies related to Ackerman, D&O, and NRA’s portion of DCAG v Foundation. At the end of January, it was back across country to California to work with RNC members at their Winter Meeting with many Second Amendment implications. They also work with us as you know our own Lori Corbin, Bob’s wife, is the RNC National Committeewoman from Arizona and in the back is Solomon Yue the RNC National Committeeman from Oregon. February began at the wildly successful NRA Great American Outdoor Show. Then, departed Pennsylvania for an Audit Committee meeting in Georgia enroute to Florida to represent NRA at a conference with movement senior leaders. We launched yet another lawsuit, an appeal. This one, a First Amendment challenge we hope the Supreme Court accepts. We have favorable amici briefs and hope to raise funds to support it. We’re trying to reopen the case against Cuomo. Charles and I conducted several relocation site visits and many meetings. In between these activities, being at headquarters aides a deep understanding of what our staff accomplishes each day. Last year when I could, I drove to Friends dinners within 150 miles and did some farther such as Pittsburgh; it will increase this year. I recently returned from a Montana Friends dinner with Jay – Sheriff got 450 supporters in that banquet hall, a tenth of the entire population of Hamilton. A week later was another cross-country trip to headline a successful state GOP event in Portland leading up to our lawsuit against Oregon and a bevy of antigun legislation. We’re in Indianapolis this week with suitcases packed for the next trip the day after we leave here.

April 28: Drama update: No longer NRA officer. Resigned from Special Litigation Committee & Relocation Committee to maintain my integrity.

Still on NRA Board of Directors, NRA Foundation Trustee. Honored. Thanks to NRA members. 

Yup, there’s a story.

April 28: As NRA Outreach Chairman I get to work w our (superstar) committee (on a no-budget budget) to recognize Indiana 2A heroes. Pic from NRAAM.

1VP report, continued:

“As a Foundation Trustee, our hard-working field staff has a direct correlation to Foundation grants. Among national grants, we provided a large sum for shotgun ammunition for the US team Olympic prep. Several of our athletes recently won medals at Worlds including our own Kim Rhode. There are myriad ranges, shooting clubs, and youth and law enforcement organizations benefitting from Foundation support.

Our outreach effort is improved. Inclusion is better with women, blacks, Hispanics, less so with Asians and other minority groups, THOUGH I GOT THIS FAR. Joe DeBergalis and Peter Churchborne arranged for 137 Native-American tribes to join our Hunters’ Education program. We’re not where Wayne wants to be. You’ll need to get better.

We’re preparing for the future with partner organizations. Wayne and I speak about our BOARD GETTING “MATURE” AND THAT SEVERAL ARE INVOLVED IN THE NY CASE. For partners with whom I deal, we succeeded. We identified and embedded our next generation within those groups. Joe (GO) and Tyler (Advancement) have been working on this. Wayne wants to do the same and Randy (ILA) has plans.”

April 29: Each Board meeting (3xyear), officers present their report to inform & update members. Mostly fluffy rhetoric. This is 4/5 of my Indy report. With the weekend’s drama, bosses fidgeted & wanted to cut the mic (see why below) but couldn’t make up a valid point of order.

“Site Selection is catching up. We are reworking a Dallas Annual Meeting and looking at Board meetings in 2025 and at the 2029 Annual Meeting. I’ve urged for months for us to hold a much-needed Relocation Committee meeting. We really need a relocation committee meeting.

This is time-consuming. As volunteers there is no requirement for any of this work. SOME DO IT AND SOME DON’T. With Wayne partly sidelined through legal and travel considerations, it is important to show that we are unafraid.

Time is the constraint. Prep and logistics take a lot of time. OFFICERS SHOULD BE ON THE ROAD ALL THE TIME.

Though membership declined, please thank NRA members who stick with us. Change is seldom embraced. We’ve seen unanticipated consequences. WE SHOULD WANT TO SHOW THAT NRA IS CHANGED; THAT WE’RE NOT THE SAME PEOPLE DOING THE SAME (CRINGY) THINGS. IF NOT, IT WON’T MATTER WHETHER WE WIN IN COURT.”

April 30: Gotta wrap up 1VP report. Appropriate as I left the building (last time?).

Each Board meeting (3xyear), officers present their report to inform & update members. This is 5/5 of my Indy report (tho there is one more.). Wrote this report the week before Indy; before the drama but knowing there would be drama.

Thought they’d cut the mic (didn’t) tho determined to get on the record (verbatim in the meeting minutes) my shout out to staff (& Board) before I left “the (officer) chairs”.

“For NRA staff. I truly enjoy being friends with many of you here, at home, and in the field. I have a few favorites. One is like a brother, younger brother, conscience, guide and, as a grown up, I am indebted. You are strong individually and collectively amazing. You know my background, so understand when I say; I AM THOROUGHLY IMPRESSED BY WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISH IN THIS ENVIRONMENT. You are the good.

Board, it is a privilege granted by our membership to help guide the NRA. What we do is serious but some of Y’ALL TAKE YOURSELVES WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.

Mister President, this concludes my report. Thank you.”

May 2: Wait. What? Y’all caught this, right? In Indianapolis for several days (for hefty $$), it was nice to gather 100+ NRA Board & senior staff plus logistics, coms, heavy security, & IS support, in a central US city ballroom, with travel, lodging, food & beverage … yet, in our 3½-hour rushed Board Meeting not one member raised even one question, nor did we receive even one update, about the “survival of NRA” major litigation, Special Litigation Committee controversy, rule change of our 152-year officer election process, nor status of NRA HQ move & “potential” HQ building/museum/range sale. Nothing. Not a single question. Not a single update. Not. One. 

Weird, huh? (Asking for a friend.) P.S. Everyone enjoyed Annual Meeting.

May 6: NRA members keep America free. (I don’t speak for NRA.)

NRA attack dogs can chill. Consider: Past 4 years as an NRA officer, did much crucial clean up and some disgusting things “to save NRA” … the NRA y’all broke. Leading to Indy, was told to do things and to keep the real reason secret. Wouldn’t support the edict which, ok, made me a liability. We promised to never repeat the Bankruptcy secrecy debacle. I won’t, hence my Relocation & Special Litigation Committee resignations. Had (very) good officer run going yet left the chairs to honor that promise. No scandal: just a thing that chair seekers can’t grasp. Old (+ wannabe) influencers got snookered. Sad, tho NRA still can be fixed. 

May 7: NRA is essential to freedom. If my intent were to damage NRA, could’ve shut up, got reelected, resigned midterm (ala Brownell ‘18), and left Coy as next President (you avoiding that?). May have left Indy early (ala North ‘19) for media attention – folks had bets whether I’d leave before Saturday Meeting of Members or Monday’s Board Meeting. Might’ve challenged for Pres or 1VP in a media spectacle. Perhaps held a presser or ripped a nasty Board Meeting report (hear that pin drop as I took the podium?). Could have resigned from SLC during the NYAG trial. Instead, business (though awkward) as usual. You’re welcome. 

May 8: Our amazing NRA staff produced a phenomenal Annual Meeting.

NRA bosses were outraged that a member (officer, no less) would dare disagree. Meantime, I had emptied my HQ office a week prior to the Indy drama. Even delivered Christmas gifts eight months early.

2A media is reaching out; nothing for you, yet. We promised to not repeat the Chap 11 secrecy disaster. Would rather leave the chairs and did so. I’ll continue to post remarks, experiences, & 1VP Report at Board Meeting (held in open session; as was By-Laws stuttering over their ‘miscommunications’ faux pas, Legal Affairs which astonishingly failed to meet quorum amid major litigation, and Nominating which no one mentioned was in Executive Session). Easy transparency; I no longer speak for NRA.

May 10: Note to new(er) NRA Board members: When something happens for only the second time ever in your organization’s 152-year history, you should ask questions. A lot of questions.

May 11: NRA belongs to our members. Not “bosses”. 

NRA drama. Oh no. Cotton didn’t originate the idea to extend his term. When By Laws Committee got it, the echo chamber had to overnight-FedEx the proposal to the Board literally only one day shy of the last minute. The PUBLIC rationale which old members parroted was to keep “the team” together – implying Cotton, Lee, Coy – to show strength to the NYAG, keep continuity in the Presidency, keep a lawyer as President. For several days, I was told to agree to extend Cotton as President and to keep secret the actual reason. I declined.

May 12: NRA set a terrible precedent. Late By Laws change shows weakness; don’t trust our process, don’t have leaders, can’t govern within our By Laws, can’t plan nor prepare. Our Board wasn’t savvy enough to ask why we rushed a change at the absolute last minute when we long knew the case would extend far past the board elections. #duped

Lawyers provide expensive advice and counsel. They shouldn’t make decisions. Very expensive litigation won’t end soon; settlement may be worse. Judge can extend the case as he has for two+ years, incl for our mistakes. Loser will appeal a December ruling (Oct-Nov trial) = expensive next year. Perhaps a key boss (hint: well, you know) is removed by the courts, or we move HQ, or a new legal attack comes. Extend the President again?

Legally, NRA President has no role. Do tell why we need a volunteer NRA President lawyer, but we have a NON-lawyer, decision-making, paid NRA CEO/EVP. If the real goal is to keep continuity, then Meadows would still be President. Team (ask ‘which team’) continuity is never assured: medical issues, accidents, old folks getting older, even resignation.

We swore after the failed Chap 11 to not keep secrets from board and senior staff; I won’t. Extending terms doesn’t meet the smell test. They won’t tell the real reason. Ask lots of questions.

May 16: NRA must be strong. Einstein defined ‘insanity’. Can the same people who got NRA into this mess … get us to where we need to be?(Asking for 4.2 million friends.)

May 18: Say what? NRA new Board member dinner, night before Monday’s Indy Board Meeting, 2 (very) senior leaders told our new crop “Don’t say a thing in your first Board meeting.” “Keep your mouth shut.” Ask questions. Get answers.

May 19: Resigned as one of the final two (NRA) Lexington-Concord LLC Board members. Most none of y’all have any idea what this is so that’s all you need to know. [that’s a company that NRA lists as an affiliate, for profit, company, but no one knows what it does. Col. Lee seems to be firing a shot across the bows — Eds.]

May 20: 1/2 Radio silence. Two years into NRA Relocation Committee, NO committee meeting. We are far down the road (no pun) of move/HQ sale without Committee, nor Board, nor even Executive Committee knowledge. We especially need input from staff who must carry out the move. This single issue has a devastating effect on staff, simply because we won’t talk with them. Our ‘staff’ lead, who doesn’t work for NRA & handles this as an extra duty to a full-time job, has repeatedly asked for an NRA staff lead contact. With no committee meeting & repeating the failed Bankruptcy secrecy fiasco, I resigned from this committee to focus on speaking/meeting/outreach/advancement which LaPierre increasingly asked me to conduct (well, now no one does it) while he is sidelined by legal and travel considerations.

May 21:  Scary? Not one NRA HQ building sale/relocation question during the Indy NRA Board meeting. For 2 years, no Board nor Relocation Committee member demanded even an initial meeting (staff does). We need to get serious.

May 22: Mueller investigation: $32 million

Durham investigation: $6.5 million

NRA (v NYAG) so far: Hold my beer.

May 22: Love our NRA staff. Leaving ‘the chairs’ was a tough decision. Hurts to not be able to protect them in a broken operation. Apologies. I miss working closely with these inspiring friends. They love our NRA members. You should love them.

Through poor (in)decisions, we harm our patriots doing heavy 2A lifting. Staff still at NRA, with the crap they go through plus unnecessary crap we put them through, is absolutely committed. Others leave because the NRA they love isn’t still that NRA. Didn’t have to be this way. Sad.

6 thoughts on “Col. Willis Lee on the NRA

  1. From what is out there for research, Lexington Concord Holdings LLC received about $80K from the NRA. That money in turn went to WBB Investments which was the NRA and AckMac holding company that was going to buy Wayne a mansion on a golf course in Dallas for “safety reasons”. Lexington Concord LLC was reported to hold 99% of the stock of WBB Investments.

    The best way to describe it is as a shell company to hide the NRA’s move to buy Wayne a mansion with members’ money.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Tis such a shame this distinguished organization is in this state of complete self-destruction – blatantly originating within the organizational structure – whose membership is totally unawares of turmoil and chaos going on.

    I am reminded of the 1971 mantra…”Would the last person out, turn off the lights!!

    Have the Bod, et al., thought about mass resignation and closing the doors while a new cadre reinvent the enterprise to it original purpose…train citizens in firearm usage!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is apparent that the board has no understanding of the need to be an independent director under N.Y. Nor-for-profit Corporation Law section 102, and the officers and directors have no understanding of their duty under section 717 of that law. Apparently the board and officers feel it is their duty to approve, with question, anything proposed by LaPierre and Brewer, otherwise they shall suffer the fate of Lt. Col. Willes Lee. They are are cowards.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find it extremely difficult to read these excerpts from Willis Lee’s Facebook. Willis Lee NOW wants transparency only after he was days away from becoming the incoming NRA President.

    Members and former members should understand had Lee become president, he would not be requesting transparency. Lee simply wanted his “cake and eat it too!” I personally know Lee’s lack of transparency on several occasions and most importantly not putting the NRA first. See prior posts.

    Lee cites he resigned after 2.5 years from the SLC “focusing (mostly)” from the attacks by the NYAG. Will someone please ask Lee why “the SLC spent $25 million dollars to prepare for a fraudulent federal bankruptcy?” Or why the “SLC has approved over the years approximately $200 million to the Brewer law firm?” Given the federal bankruptcy was denied for trying to circumvent pending ligations, why didn’t the SLC sue the Brewer law firm to get back the $25 million dollars?” Perhaps Lee was contrite knowing that NRA members were footing the bill!

    I could provide other examples, but I hope these get current and former members to think about Lee being only 1 of 3 members forming the SLC and his total lack of transparency to the board of directors!

    Lee’s lack of oversight, fiduciary responsibilities, and his blatant disregard of New York’s regulations for non-profit corporations will prevent Lee from ever becoming a board member in the reformed NRA. Furthermore, if or when the NRA is put into receivership, Lee will not be a board member. Lastly, I will do everything within the law to prevent Lee from ever becoming a board member for the NRA or any non-profit.

    Once again, to Willis Lee – “you reap what you sow!”

    Like

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