ALEXANDRIA, VA: The National Rifle Association and longtime communications firm Ackerman McQueen are fighting a legal battle in the wake of accusations of financial impropriety brought by former NRA president Oliver North against organization leaders.
Ackerman McQueen has represented the NRA since the 1980s, working on its PR and marketing strategies and running the gun group’s video outreach initiative, NRATV, according to Bloomberg.
However, on Wednesday, the NRA reportedly initiated a suit against Ackerman McQueen in Alexandria, Virginia, Circuit Court, saying the agency attempted to have Wayne LaPierre removed as CEO by leaking internal details. It is seeking $40 million in compensation from the agency.
The NRA suit claims Ackerman McQueen engaged in a "campaign to tarnish and ultimately destroy the public image of the NRA and its senior leadership" by releasing details of LaPierre’s spending on clothing and foreign travel, according to Bloomberg.
North assumed the position of president last year, then stepped down in April and said he was forced out for raising allegations against LaPierre, according to media reports,
The NRA’s suit is intended in part to gather financial records detailing alleged payments made by Ackerman McQueen to North, according to Bloomberg.
In response, Ackerman McQueen filed a $50 million counterclaim against the NRA on Thursday in the same court, according to The Daily Beast.
Ackerman McQueen did not immediately return PRWeek’s requests for comment. In a statement to Bloomberg, it said that the NRA suit was "another reckless attempt to scapegoat Ackerman McQueen for the NRA’s own breakdown in governance, compliance and leadership."
"We have done our job to protect the brand for decades and have continued to do so despite shameless and inaccurate attacks on our integrity and our personnel by a leadership group that is desperate to make this a story about anything other than their own failures," the firm said.
The NRA did not respond to requests seeking comment. However, the group recently posted a statement on its website defending its financial dealings, LaPierre and the organization as a whole.
Signed by the current and several past presidents, the statement said the group’s "financial house is in order" and that its "financials are audited and its tax filings are verified by one of the most reputable firms in the world."
New York State Attorney General Letitia James reportedly opened an investigation last month into the group’s finances.