Recently headlines emerged that the NRA’s vice president and chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre was paid close to $5 million in 2015, a dollar amount that seems to undermine the grassroots nature of the gun rights group. But headlines can be misleading.
According to the Washington Post LaPierre earned just over $1 million in 2015. The other amount was a retirement payout for over 30 years of employment with the NRA.
“The NRA is transparent in its finances and in its reporting of the required Form 990,” said NRA President Allan Cors. “This is an employee funded deferred compensation plan and the $3.7 million distribution to Wayne LaPierre was required by federal law and properly reported.”
Some were also quick to point out that even a $1 million salary is low by organizational standards and that typically CEOs earn a significantly higher percentage — between 4 and 5 percent of the revenue — even non-profit CEOs. A $1 million annual salary is standard for executives at openly-traded companies and that’s before all forms of bonuses, not including retirement payouts.
“This is extraordinarily well-deserved compensation for Wayne’s almost four decades of service in protection of our American freedom,” said Cors, “and it represents tremendous value for NRA members and our nation’s gun owners.”
In recent years the NRA earned a gross revenue of between $300 and $400 million dollars, typically around $340 million a year before expenses. The NRA takes in around $100 million per year in donations and holds just over $100 million in assets.
With help from supporters, the NRA has fought for gun rights on local and national levels fiercely, particularly in the years following the fall of the assault weapons ban. Following the election of President Donald Trump, the NRA is doubling down on their efforts and is “set to go on offense.”
“For the first time in almost a decade, the NRA is shifting from a defensive stance to a pro-active stance,” said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker. “We’re going from defense to offense. Now, we have a pro-Second Amendment Congress and a pro-Second Amendment president who will sign pro-Second Amendment legislation. That’s a huge shift.”
Right now the NRA is focused on two national-level priorities. The gun rights group is looking to roll back Obama-enacted executive orders restricting gun rights and availability as well as continue promoting the Hearing Protection Act.
Still, when gun rights are at stake, is a million-dollar salary too much? What do you think?