NRA sues its main ad agency for allegedly withholding billing information

FILE–In this March 2, 2019, file photo, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2019.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Friday in Virgina against Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma-based ad agency that runs NRATV, accusing the contractor of withholding billing statements and alleging an inappropriate financial relationship between the NRA’s president and the advertising firm

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Ackerman McQueen was first contracted by the NRA in the 1980s. In 2016, the ad agency launched NRATV, which has been “perceived by the public as the voice of the N.R.A.,” according to the lawsuit. The NRA complaint alleges that the ad agency failed to provide adequate information over how Ackerman McQueen spent about $40 million paid by the NRA in 2017.

The lawsuit states that Ackerman McQueen only partially complied or “badly ignored” requests for backing paperwork on bills to the NRA, despite being contractually obligated to share these financial records. The complaint also claims Ackerman McQueen failed to reveal information regarding a separate contract with NRA President Oliver North.

North, who took over as president of the gun rights organization in 2018, allegedly had a contract to host a web series for Ackerman McQueen, The New York Times reported. The NRA claims the ad firm refused to hand over details regarding the contract for six months and raised questions over whether the messaging of the NRA has veered away from solely gun rights.

"This flagrant misrepresentation, along with other false claims, serve as the foundation of malicious intent exemplified by this lawsuit," Ackerman McQueen said in a statement.

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Ackerman McQueen said the NRA’s outside attorney William Brewer has a conflict of interest in this case because he is both the son-in-law of Angus McQueen and the brother-in-law of Revan McQueen, who are both executives at the ad firm.

Ackerman McQueen said in a statement Monday that an NRA forensic auditing firm received every piece of information it requested during a three-week review.

“This flagrant misrepresentation, along with other false claims, serve as the foundation of malicious intent exemplified by this lawsuit,” Ackerman McQueen’s statement says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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