WASHINGTON: The National Rifle Association (NRA), proclaimed the
most powerful lobbying force in Washington by Fortune magazine, is on
the hunt for a communications director.
The post includes responsibility for one of the largest war chests in
In 2000, the group spent £69m on communications efforts, including
advertising. In non-election years, that number dips to a
The job also includes handling PR for NRA president Charlton Heston, who
has made a screen comeback this year with a cameo role in the remake of
Planet of the Apes.
Bill Powers, who has held the communications director post for the past
four-and-a-half years, defected to NRA agency of record The Mercury
Group earlier this month, where he will serve as executive
The move is something of a homecoming for Powers, who came to the NRA
from Ackerman McQueen, the NRA's ad agency and parent company of The
Powers said: 'I'm proud of the role I played in helping move our PR
effort from a very defensive posture with the national media to what I
believe in recent years has been a much more open relationship.
'The benefits of that can be seen in the more fairly balanced and
positive coverage we have gotten in the last year or so,' he added.
Former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart conceded in a recent
Washington Post editorial that any public war waged against the NRA in
2000 was a losing one.
'I pushed hard to put gun control front and centre,' he wrote. 'Put
simply, I got it wrong. At my urging, the White House allowed the NRA to
shift the debate away from common sense safety measures to a demagogic
debate on the right to own firearms.'
Powers said that the NRA will take its time finding his successor.
The NRA took first place in the Power 25 ranking by Fortune magazine,
released in May.
The survey of 2,900 DC insiders was conducted to determine the influence
of more than 80 of Washington's top lobbying groups.