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Law

ProPublica Says Attorney Bill Brewer Keeps Burn Books

How many of you have ever felt personally victimized by Bill Brewer?
By Shawn Shinneman |
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Photo by Shane Kislack for D CEO.

You may be aware that cutthroat Dallas attorney Bill Brewer provides outside counsel to the NRA. As such, he’s sometimes the one out in front of reporters defending the NRA from claims of, say, self-dealing. That happened as recently as May. He’s everywhere in this April New Yorker slice on the organization’s inner dysfunction and money problems, as well.

But now comes this combined ProPublica, The Trace, and New Yorker exposé on Brewer’s own tactics within the organization. A former NRA treasury type accuses him in a letter obtained by the publications of intimidating staff into paying his firm crazy cash—$24 million over 13 months, or $97,000 a day. It contains one fun detail, the type that’s fun in a temporarily-distract-you-from-the-soulless-organization-he-stands-with kind of a way. To do so, he, according to this former senior employee named Emily Cummins, compiled “burn books.” They were “filled with personal information that he could use against individuals.”

“Cummins accuses Brewer of trying to intimidate, deceive and silence NRA staff who were processing his bills while some accountants were growing increasingly troubled by the organization’s mismanagement, exorbitant spending and questionable deals involving conflicts of interest. Former Brewer colleagues as well as written correspondence obtained by ProPublica broadly supported her claims.”

Her own words:

“I witnessed what appeared to be unrealistic and duplicative billing from Bill Brewer,” Cummins wrote. “I witnessed that Bill Brewer himself created a 2018 cash flow crunch by interfering with accounts payable to prioritize paying himself immediately versus other NRA vendors that had been providing goods or services for months without payment, also jeopardizing the NRA’s biweekly staff payroll.”

Brewer’s firm denies those allegations and says the fees are standard.

But burn books? Like in Mean Girls?

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