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NRA president will not seek second term, CEO asked to resign

NRA executive Wayne LaPierre
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

NRA president Oliver North announced on Saturday he will not seek a second term as the gun-rights organization handles ongoing internal power struggles, the AP reports.

The latest: His resignation comes as the New York attorney general’s office announced it had launched an investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status, The New York Times first reported. The investigation will examine potential financial and disclosure problems, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

What to watch: The NRA's 76-member board plans to convene on Monday to discuss the infighting, which follows claims that North was trying to oust the organization's longtime chief executive Wayne LaPierre amid allegations that LaPierre threatened the organization's nonprofit status, the NYT reports. Events continue to unfold during the NRA's 148th annual meeting, taking place in Indianapolis through Sunday.

Details: In his statement on Saturday to group members, North recommended establishing a committee to review the NRA’s finances, acknowledging a “clear crisis” that “needs to be dealt with” in order for the organization to survive.

"Yesterday evening, I was forced to confront one of those defining choices - styled in the parlance of extortionists, as an offer I couldn't refuse. I refused it. Delivered by a member of our Board on behalf of his employer, the exhortation was simple: resign or there will be destructive allegations made against me and the NRA."
— Wayne LaPierre said in a letter to the NRA board on Thursday

Between the lines: In the letter, LaPierre accuses North — a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines — of trying to remove him by threatening to release "damaging" information to the NRA's board. “The letter would contain a devastating account for our financial status, sexual harassment charges against a staff member, accusations of wardrobe expenses and excessive staff travel expenses,” LaPierre wrote.

The backdrop: The alleged attempt to force out LaPierre comes as the NRA is fighting a legal battle involving advertising firm Ackerman McQueen, a contractor for NRATV, per the New York Times. North hosts a documentary series on NRATV called “American Heroes.”

Why it matters: This is the NRA's deepest internal dispute since the 1990s, per the NYT. Axios' Mike Allen writes that anti-gun forces had the best election in a long time, and those groups are rising in power and influence.

Go deeper: Oliver North will be the NRA’s new president