On Friday, The Washington Post Reported That NRA’s Chief of Staff, Josh Powell, Was Placed on Leave ‘Pending an Investigation;’ Newsweek then Confirmed Powell is ‘No Longer Employed’ with the NRA
Powell Has Been The Subject Of Controversy In Recent Years, Including Claims Of Sexual Harassment by an Ackerman Employee
NEW YORK – According to new reporting from Newsweek, Josh Powell, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s former chief of staff and senior strategist, is no longer employed by the organization.
“I wonder what the NRA will do with the more than $900,000 it saved by cutting ties with Powell – perhaps it’ll go towards paying their $2 million-a-month legal fees?” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “While the NRA continues to lose top officials – and influence – Moms Demand Action volunteers will be protecting the interests of the vast majority of Americans, who want common sense gun laws and an end to the gun lobby’s grip on our lawmakers.”According to Newsweek:
“It was not clear whether Powell was fired or if he resigned. The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The email clarifying the nature of Powell’s departure was sent to the board of directors Saturday evening by the NRA’s general counsel John Frazer.
“‘Several directors have reported receiving media queries regarding Josh Powell and his employment status with the Association,’ he wrote. ‘For the sake of clarity, we note that Josh is no longer employed by the NRA.’”
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Powell had been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
“Powell’s status was also referenced in a Jan. 23 filing in Alexandria Circuit Court by the NRA’s former public relations agency, Ackerman McQueen. ‘Mr. Powell has now been placed ‘on leave’ by the NRA pending an investigation by NRA counsel,’ the filing in Virginia says.”
“The NRA and Ackerman are engaged in a sprawling legal battle with multiple lawsuits and countersuits that encompass accusations of reckless spending and leaks to the media.”
The NRA did not respond to repeated requests for comment about Powell, whose compensation rose 18 percent last year to $919,969, according to the group’s tax returns. He also received $57,168 in “taxable personal expenses.” The recent court filing does not state whether Powell is being paid while on leave or give the reason.
No reason was publicly disclosed for the original decision to place Powell on leave, but this isn’t the first time Powell has come under scrutiny. According to the Newsweek report:
“Powell was most recently LaPierre’s chief of staff and was previously the executive director of general operations before his role at the organization was scaled back amid a sexual harassment scandal.
“The Trace reported in August that Powell was the recipient of two separate sexual harassment allegations over the last two years. One reportedly involved an accuser at the NRA’s now-estranged public relations firm Ackerman McQueen. Another complaint reportedly involved an NRA employee and a settlement drawn from NRA funds.”
This is only the latest in a long list of scandals that have consumed the NRA over the past few years. Wracked with infighting, investigations, and allegations of millions of dollars in self-dealing and lavish spending, the NRA is weaker than ever heading into 2020’s monumental elections.
Read the full report here.