NRA Staffers Whine About Coffee, But Wayne LaPierre Took the Real Hit

Wayne LaPierre speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). (Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

The internet responded with glee yesterday to news from Mother Jones and The Trace that declining revenues have driven the National Rifle Association to stop providing free coffee to its employees. But who’s shedding tears for NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who in 2016 seems to have seen his pay cut by two-thirds? After doing all that work to get Donald Trump elected—the NRA spent about $30 million to deliver the GOP nominee to the White House—he was left with a mere $1.4 million in regular compensation, according to the group’s tax filings, considerably less than his previous year’s salary of $5 million.

To be fair, it’s not as if LaPierre raked in a $5 million salary in the years preceding that windfall. In 2014, for instance, he only made $928,000. But then came a glut of dark money that caught the attention of the FBI, according to a McClatchy report, which is investigating “whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency.” Whether through Russian sources or other dark money donors, the spigot that deposited a pool of cash at the NRA would have started flowing when the campaign season began in 2015.

The Trace reports that the NRA couldn’t even manage to cough up its usual glut of campaign dollars in the 2018 midterm races, spending “less than half” this cycle “of what it spent on congressional races in 2014 and 2016”—meaning a mere $10 million NRA dollars fed recent races.

Speaking of the association’s new austerity plan, The Trace’s source told reporters for the website:

“Josh [Powell] is going to greatly reduce education and training and slash the number of the NRA’s publications down to one magazine,” said a source close to the gun group’s leadership. The group currently maintains six publications, including four print magazines.

Times are said to be hard now at the gun lobby group, what with new regulations in New York state that are alleged to have put a dent in NRA membership (over which the group is suing), and any legal defense it may have to launch regarding its role in the 2016 presidential election, given reports of scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of the relationship between the NRA and Russian banker Alexander Torshin, who is reportedly close to Vladimir Putin.