NRA's longtime ad agency cuts ties with group

NRA's longtime ad agency cuts ties with group
© Greg Nash

The ad agency that partnered with the National Rifle Association (NRA) for four decades has ended its relationship with the gun lobbying group.

“Today, faced with the NRA’s many inexplicable actions that have constructively terminated the parties’ Services Agreement, Ackerman McQueen decided it is time to stand up for the truth, and formally provide a Notice to Terminate its almost four-decade long relationship with the National Rifle Association,” the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The NRA also pays the ad agency to run programming for its conservative NRATV network, meaning the future of the network is uncertain, according to the Daily Beast. An internal email to NRATV staff vowed to have “future internal discussions as we are able.”

The announcement follows tension between the gun rights group and Ackerman McQueen, which claimed in a letter to the NRA board that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre charged the agency nearly a quarter million dollars in expenses relating to international travel.

The NRA, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen in April, saying the agency refused to provide records to support its billings and seeking details regarding the agency’s contract with then-NRA president Oliver NorthOliver Laurence NorthNRA head says in newly revealed recording that legal troubles have cost group 0 million Filing shows pay for top NRA officials surges as key program spending declined: report Five landmark moments of testimony to Congress MORE.

North left his post amid a leadership dispute with LaPierre.

“Without notice to the board, the NRA filed a lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen,” North wrote in April. “In addition, a series of articles in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times were alleged of financial mismanagement by senior NRA officers. If true, the NRA nonprofit status is threatened.”

A lawyer for the NRA pushed back at Ackerman McQueen's decision to cut ties Wednesday, accusing the agency of having "sponsored a failed coup attempt to unseat Wayne Lapierre."

"The NRA alleges that Ackerman not only attempted to derail an investigation into its conduct, but unleashed a smear campaign against any who dared to hold the agency accountable," William Brewer III, counsel to the NRA, told The Hill in a statement.

“Although today’s announcement by Ackerman is welcome news, it does not resolve the NRA’s legal actions against Ackerman. The Association will pursue its legal rights and hold Ackerman accountable for any damage it caused the Association. The agency was a longstanding vendor of the NRA. But like any other vendor, it will be held accountable – in the best interest of all NRA members.”

Updated: 4:40 p.m.