NRA chief of staff placed 'on leave,' court filing states

NRA chief of staff placed 'on leave,' court filing states
© Greg Nash

One of the National Rifle Association's (NRA) top officials has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the group's lawyer.

A Jan. 23 court filing in a Virginia circuit court indicates that Joshua Powell, the NRA’s chief of staff, was "placed ‘on leave’ by the NRA pending an investigation by NRA counsel," The Washington Post reports.

The complaint was submitted by Ackerman McQueen, the group's former public relations agency. Currently, the two are locked in a heated legal battle over allegations of reckless spending and information leaks.

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Both Powell and the NRA declined the Post's request for comment and Powell deleted "National Rifle Association Chief of Staff - Senior Strategist” from his Twitter bio earlier this week.

The NRA's top brass received significant pay raises last year, with Powell's salary increasing 18 percent to just under $1 million. Chief executive Wayne LaPierre saw his pay increased by 57 percent to $2.15 million. On average, top NRA officials got a 41 percent pay raise in 2019, while the NRA as a whole slashed its spending on programming, the Post reports.

Powell's benching also comes as the Democratic attorneys general of New York and Washington, D.C. are also looking into the non-profit's finances.

Powell had also reportedly lost favor with Ackerman McQueen. The agency said in 2018 that "we had clear reason to believe, supported by evidence, that he sexually harassed one of our senior employees and we would not tolerate his further involvement with any of our employees in order to protect their right to a safe work environment."

According to the agency, the gun group "refused to cooperate," and Powell "remained in a senior position of decision-making and leadership at the organization, receiving the full support of Mr. LaPierre.”