The nasty game of hardball between the National Rifle Association and its long-time ad agency Ackerman McQueen took another sour turn this week as the NRA filed a second lawsuit against the agency, this time accusing it of undertaking a campaign to “tarnish and ultimately destroy the public image of the NRA and its senior leadership.”
The agency issued a response calling the new lawsuit “another reckless attempt to scapegoat Ackerman McQueen for the NRA’s own breakdown in governance.”
The suit contends that the agency’s ultimate goal was to “wrest control of the NRA by fomenting a (failed) executive coup.” The pro-gun-rights group is seeking $40 million in damages and a jury trial per the complaint which was filed May 22 in Alexandria, Virginia Circuit Court.
The suit follows several reports, including a series by The New York Times looking into the organization’s current financially tenuous position.
A number of news stories reported an alleged spending spree by NRA boss Wayne LaPierre who is said to have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in clothing purchases at a chichi Beverly Hills clothing boutique that were expensed to the agency.
In its first lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, filed last month in the same Virginia court, the NRA alleged that the agency violated the services agreement between the two organizations by failing to allow it to examine in-depth the agency’s books pertaining to fees for services, including strategic marketing, media planning and buying, PR, digital media and website management and the operation of NRATV, a digital media content platform.
The agency denied the allegations, calling the suit frivolous.
Here’s the agency’s full statement in response to the suit filed this week:
“It is a sad day for NRA members that their leadership is more focused on attacking partners than fighting for freedom. Once again the National Rifle Association leadership’s new lawsuit is 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.”