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EXCLUSIVE: Unmasking the NRA's Inner Circle

The NRA's shadowy leaders include the CEO who sells Bushmaster assault rifles and a top director who lives in Newtown.

| Wed Jan. 16, 2013 6:06 AM EST

In fact, 10 women currently serve on the board, but few people had access to that information until very recently, when the NRA posted a complete list on its website. (In the past, the NRA cloaked its board in secrecy; incomplete and outdated lists were published by outside groups using press clips and legally required NRA financial disclosures.) According to a search using Archive.org, the current board page was published sometime after December 6.

The Nominating Committee now led by Clark handpicked nearly all of the candidates on the 2012 ballot. As John Richardson, an NRA "Life Member" in North Carolina explained on his blog, No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money, in January 2012, "This year there are 31 candidates running for 25 positions. Of these 31, 29 were nominated by the Nominating Committee. The remaining two candidates were nominated by a petition of the membership which requires at least 250 signatures." (One of those two nominated by petition was elected to the board last year.)

Other notable figures currently serving on the board include actor and firearms enthusiast Tom Selleck; anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist; Lt. Colonel Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame; right-wing rocker Ted Nugent, whose thinly veiled threats about Barack Obama's reelection campaign prompted a Secret Service inquiry; and Marion Hammer, the former NRA president who helped mastermind the spread of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

At a poignant news conference held in Newtown on Monday, parents of some of the slain first-graders announced Sandy Hook Promise, a new group and campaign to promote "common sense solutions" to America's gun violence problem. It is unclear whether Patricia A. Clark attended that gathering in her local community. But she has shown a certain kind of interest in kids for decades. According to her board bio, she has "worked with Juniors for more than 30 years" as a firearms coach and instructor. As a line in her bio puts it, she is an "NRA Benefactor and Heritage Society member who believes that youngsters are the key to NRA's future."

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