The National Rifle Association, after claiming that its letter which prompted President Bush to quit as a member was a fundraising success, is warning in a new appeal that it will make huge program cuts unless more money comes in.
“This is the most devastating news I’ve heard since I became NRA’s executive vice president,” begins the letter from Wayne LaPierre, which also refers to a copy of the NRA’s first-quarter financial statement for its Special Project Fund.
The undated letter was mailed to the NRA’s 3.5 million members in late May, along with a separate appeal for money to help retire the $35 million construction cost for the group’s new headquarters in suburban Virginia.
Copies of the two letters were obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
Referring to the Special Project Fund report, LaPierre suggested that the recipient “understand the numbers. And realize that immediate action is necessary to resolve this crisis.”
“As you can see, NRA needs to put $812,000 in the bank within 30 days,” LaPierre continued. “Unless we can raise this money … I will be forced to make huge cutbacks in every single NRA special project our cloutbuilding, membership recruitment projects, our media campaigns, our petition Congress drives - no program will escape the budget ax.”
Tanya Metaksa, the group’s chief lobbyist, said LaPierre’s message did not contradict his earlier claims about the NRA’s robust financial picture.
“We have a lot of programs that are not necessarily funded by our dues,” Metaksa insisted. “This (letter) doesn’t mean the NRA is about to fall off the cliff into the abyss of bankruptcy.”
“This is sort of like people selling a product,” she added. “If you don’t keep selling the product, you go out of business.”
She also said the NRA maintains separate funding accounts, so that a shortfall in the Special Projects Fund would not necessarily imperil the group’s overall financial health.
In the wake of Bush’s resignation last month over a March fundraising letter that referred to federal agents as “jack-booted government thugs,” LaPierre said that the NRA had received over 900,000 responses, the vast majority of them positive.