A 2018 financial report shows that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is spending higher amounts on administrative costs while significantly cutting its training and political advocacy programs. Prepared by external auditors, the documents show that the NRA’s spending is increasing faster than the organization’s revenues, creating a $10.8 million shortfall in 2018.
In 2018, according to a report by Business Insider, “the NRA and affiliates had $412 million in revenue and $423 million in outlays in 2018, after $378 million in revenue and $379 million in spending in 2017.”
The NRA’s travel and entertainment costs have both risen, going from approximately $8.7 million to $10.1 million over the course of a year. Legal and audit expenses have also increased, going from $12.7 million in 2017 to a staggering $33.5 million in 2018.
The NRA did reduce spending in some key program areas. The amount of money spent on marksmanship and gun safety programs fell by about $9.9 million, going from $42.6 million in 2017 to $32.7 million in 2018.
Additionally, midterm election spending also took a serious tumble, sitting at just $9.4 million in 2018, a far cry from the $27 million in 2014.
At the end of last year, the NRA froze employee pension plans, a decision that led to a near $13 million savings. The organization also borrowed $28 million as a line of credit against its Virginia headquarters.
After reviewing the report, Ohio State University accounting professor Brian Mittendorf said the financial documents show an organization that resembles “a person living paycheck to paycheck.”
“They’ve never exhibited extreme financial conservatism,” Mittendorf added. “They’ve largely spent what they could.”
The decreased spending on gun training and increased administrative expenditures “has me incensed,” said NRA life member Steven Hoback.
“For administrative costs to go up at the same time that one of the core missions of the NRA is going down, that has me incensed,” said Hoback. “I’m livid at that.”
Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, declined to speak directly about the emerging financial trends the organization is facing, but did state that the financial documents show that the NRA is making “financial and administrative decisions that work in the best interests of its members.”
“In the last three years, the NRA has raised more than a billion dollars, played an important role in getting President Trump elected and continued to successfully defend the freedoms of gun owners everywhere,” said Arulanandam. “That is the true measure of the organization.”