The NRA argued that it was their ad firm, and not them, that was attempting this blatant effort at self dealing.
Well, the Wall Street Journal now has the $70,000 check from the National Rifle Association to a shell company that was to execute the purchase:
In May 2018, the National Rifle Association sent a $70,000 check to an obscure Delaware entity called WBB Investments LLC, which had been incorporated a week earlier.
The check, a copy of which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal, raises new questions about the NRA’s attempts to explain a tangled transaction involving its then-outside advertising agency and an abortive plan to purchase a $6 million Dallas mansion for NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
The advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen, recently turned over documents to the proposed house purchase to the New York attorney general’s office, which is probing Mr. LaPierre’s dealings with the agency as part of a broad investigation of the NRA.
When the Journal broke the story last week, the NRA initially said the plan to buy the mansion was hatched by Angus McQueen, the ad agency’s late co-CEO, as a kind of safe house for Mr. LaPierre. The NRA chief had concerns about his security in the wake of the February 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
The NRA said the house was to be purchased by a company owned by senior Ackerman executives, and Mr. LaPierre shut down the transaction after discovering that the ad company intended to use NRA funds for the deal. “Not a cent of NRA money was ultimately spent,” the NRA said.
An NRA check for $70,000 to an obscure Delaware entity called WBB Investments is the most-direct evidence to have emerged of the flow of money in the aborted mansion deal.
Ackerman, for its part, says Mr. LaPierre had wanted the mansion, which it said was to be paid for by the NRA. According to Ackerman’s version of events, Mr. LaPierre had asked Ackerman to help facilitate the deal, and an Ackerman lawyer set up WBB Investments to buy the house so the LaPierre connection wouldn’t become public.
Mr. LaPierre and his wife, Susan, twice visited the house—a 10,000-square-foot residence in a gated golf community—and were preparing to put down $70,000 in earnest money to make an offer, according to people familiar with this version of the transaction.
Enter the check, dated May 25, 2018, and drawn on an NRA account at Wells Fargo . It is the most-direct evidence of the flow of money in the aborted deal to have emerged.
“If there’s a check from the NRA to an LLC, that doesn’t seem consistent with a story that Ackerman was going to pay for it,” said Elizabeth Kingsley, a Washington lawyer who specializes in nonprofit law. “Even if it’s just earnest money, the money is on the line and the check shows NRA money, not Ackerman funds.”
The NRA was laundering money for Wayne LaPierre’s personal benefit.