September 18, 2019; Washington Post
What do they say again about a house divided?
The cast of characters that has emerged from the chaos that is the National Rifle Association of 2019 just got a bit richer with a Washington Post profile of the lawyer William Brewer III. I recommend a full read.
Brewer, originally engaged to help with the organization’s growing challenges from the New York attorney general, is not only a Democrat, but also lacks any background in Second Amendment litigation. What he does have, according to the Washington Post, is a reputation for insinuating himself into situations and fomenting expensive conflict.
After helping to jettison NRA president Oliver North, rival lawyers, and other key NRA lieutenants, Brewer counsels [CEO Wayne] LaPierre on some of the group’s most important decisions, including legal strategy, management. and public relations, said multiple people familiar with his role.
The Post describes him as “a brash lawyer who has drawn ethics complaints and has a reputation for escalating disputes into pricey legal battles.” You can read some of those stories yourself in the Post article, but pricey they have certainly been for the NRA, with his firm billing the group for $24 million in just over a year.
Sign up for our free newsletter
Subscribe to the NPQ newsletter to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
I have to admit that this all reminds me of the HBO family saga satire, Succession—improbably dastardly plots and family members standing behind every drape with a knife and a scheme at the ready:
With Brewer’s backing, LaPierre this spring turned against Ackerman McQueen, the marketing firm that had been the NRA’s image maker for more than three decades—a company run by Brewer’s own father-in-law and brother-in-law.
Ackerman McQueen charges Brewer with “pursuing a personal vendetta against his own family and their business.”
Making the whole picture even more intriguing, Brewer is a Democratic donor, having given to the likes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Beto O’Rourke. Is there a master plan afoot, or is the whole situation just reflective of poor ethical habits and a lack of common sense? Stay tuned for the next episode, because this blockbuster season is not over yet.
Meanwhile, a lesson from the NRA and Succession: Try to limit your family ties in the workplace—those ties can be rich with potential, and we don’t mean that in a good way.—Ruth McCambridge