The National Rifle Association board reappointed Wayne LaPierre as executive vice president on Monday, turning back the latest leadership challenge amid corruption allegations and flat membership for the still-powerful gun lobby.
The board vote came as the NRA held its annual meeting in Houston, about 280 miles (450 km) east of the site of a mass shooting on Tuesday, when an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
Conservative activist Allen West, a retired military officer and former U.S. congressman from Florida, challenged LaPierre, who is also fighting off a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James that seeks to remove LaPierre from office.
The NRA said there was one vote against LaPierre, who is also CEO of the NRA, on the 76-member board. Monday’s board vote came after dues-paying members on Saturday voted overwhelmingly in support of LaPierre.
Phil Journey, the lone board member to vote against LaPierre and in favor of West, said the vote was 54-1. Journey, a district court judge in Sedgwick County, Kansas, is attempting to reform the NRA from within and prevent James from asserting control over the group should she prevail in her lawsuit.
James filed the lawsuit in 2020, alleging NRA leaders paid for family trips to the Bahamas, private jets and expensive meals and clothes that contributed to a $64 million reduction in the NRA’s balance sheet in three years, turning a surplus into a deficit.
In March, a New York judge rejected James’ petition to dissolve the NRA, but said she could go forward with other goals of the lawsuit, including the ouster of LaPierre.
The NRA says it has undergone a “course correction” by reinforcing oversight, promoting whistleblowers and having LaPierre reimburse the group for spending on personal items.