This is a most interesting and revealing investigative article that has just been published by Mother Jones. The NRA attempts to present itself as a democratically controlled grassroots organization with over 4 million members. There are a number of people currently looking into the realities of the actual size of the NRA membership. However, this article suggest that the number doesn't mean a great deal because they have almost no control over the organization and its operations.
But whatever its true size, today's NRA, widely considered to be disproportionately influential in politics, operates more like a corporation or politburo than a typical nonprofit or lobbying organization. Its 76 board directors and 10 executive officers keep a grip on power through elections in which ordinary grassroots members appear to have little say.Not only does this nominating committee exercise near complete control over membership on the board of directors, not all of the 10 members are themselves board members. Three are appointed from the outside. It appears that those positions tend to have close to the gun manufacturing industry. It is unclear who actually appoints them.
The NRA leadership is known as much for its organizational secrecy as its absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment. That may be why, until now, little has been known about some of its most powerful insiders. They sit on the NRA board of directors' nine-member Nominating Committee, which, despite ballots distributed annually to legions of NRA members, closely controls who can be elected to the NRA board.
Here are some of the well known figures that the nominating committee has placed on the board:
Other notable figures currently serving on the board include actor and firearms enthusiast Tom Selleck; anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist; Lt. Colonel Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame; right-wing rocker Ted Nugent, whose thinly veiled threats about Barack Obama's reelection campaign prompted a Secret Service inquiry; and Marion Hammer, the former NRA president who helped mastermind the spread of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.There are 10 executive officers who actually run the organization and its activities. While the board members serve without official compensation, the executive officers are paid and paid well.
LaPierre took home $960,000 from the NRA and related organizations in 2010; Kayne B. Robinson, the executive director of general operations, earned more than $1 million.It seems pretty obvious where the real power and control is in the organization.