The National Rifle Association’s already-toxic legal fight has gotten nastier, somehow, as the powerful gun-rights group has subpoenaed its ex-president.
Previously unreported court documents show the group served a subpoena on Oliver North late last month. It also subpoenaed Lance Olson and Daniel Boren, according to the documents; all three men are members of the NRA’s own board.
The subpoena asks for a number of documents from North: anything sent from April 10 to May 22 regarding people who work for the NRA’s longtime ad firm, Ackerman McQueen; any communications sent over the NRA’s contentious Indianapolis convention about CEO Wayne LaPierre or Ackerman McQueen; documents about the NRA’s expenditures; documents about North’s expenses; and communications about leaks.
The subpoena points to the friction between the NRA and its former president and highlights the extent to which the fight roiling the organization is focused on money and media. It specifically demands communications “related to a ‘leak’ or dissemination of previously non-public documents or information,” and cites stories from the Washington Free Beacon and The Daily Beast. The NRA previously alleged that the ad firm leaked confidential information to media outlets as part of an effort to damage senior officials in the NRA.
The NRA made the same document demands of Boren and Olson. It also demanded that North appear for a deposition on June 13 in a location the two parties would agree to, and that Olson do the same on June 17.
Lawyers for North did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Ackerman McQueen declined to comment.
The subpoenas come as the NRA faces growing turmoil. In April, the group sued Ackerman McQueen, which has helped manage its public relations for more than three decades. That lawsuit demanded information about the ad firm’s finances and NRA work. In an update to that litigation, which came shortly before the NRA’s huge annual member meeting, the NRA alleged that North may have double-dipped by simultaneously receiving a salary from the NRA and from the ad firm. At the time, North was the NRA’s president.
Days later, at the meeting, he was ousted from that role. Before his ouster, the NRA alleges that he tried to blackmail LaPierre into leaving the organization. LaPierre wrote a letter to board members laying out the blackmail allegations shortly before North lost his position as president.
In the weeks since then, the legal battle has only metastasized. The NRA launched another lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, demanding tens of millions of dollars in damages, and the ad firm fired back, demanding a similarly eye-popping figure. Just last week, the ad firm moved to sever its contractual relationship with the NRA.
The firm’s work for the gun group has drawn significant public notice. It manages NRATV, the often-controversial internet platform that features gun-rights personalities talking about the Second Amendment, gun policy, firearms, and—at times—contentious culture-war issues.
When the firm announced it would move to separate itself from the gun-rights groups, people working for NRATV were shocked and immediately wondered if they would still have jobs, as The Daily Beast reported. Despite the fights, though, the internet channel is still producing content—at least for now.