William Brewer III had emerged as a top counselor to NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and a victor — for now, at least — in a civil war that he helped set in motion and that is ripping apart the powerful gun lobby.
The ugly public fight has led to an exodus of high-level officials and warring accusations of financial impropriety. At the center of the fray is Brewer, a brash lawyer who has drawn ethics complaints and has a reputation for escalating disputes into pricey legal battles.
Several NRA veterans accuse Brewer of instigating an almost Shakespearean feud to protect his bottom line and growing influence. According to internal board correspondence, his small law firm billed $24 million in fees in 13 months — leading top NRA board members to demand early this year that the organization stop paying until they could review the bills.