Former NASCAR driver, racing team owner and Winston-Salem native Richard Childress has resigned from the National Rifle Association’s board of directors.
Childress, who was serving as the NRA board’s first vice president, became the fifth prominent figure to leave in recent weeks on Monday.
“At this time, it is necessary for me to fully focus on my businesses,” he said in his letter. “I owe that to my employees, our partners, my family, and myself. Since proudly agreeing to serve on the NRA Board, I have supported the organization and its important mission to preserve and protect our Constitutional rights. But when, as now, I am no longer able to be fully engaged in any commitment I have made, it becomes time for me to step down. I have reached that point in my ability to continue to serve the NRA. As such, I must resign.”
Country music singer and NRA board member Craig Morgan has resigned, sources with knowledge of the matter tell CNN. David Lehman, the deputy executive director and general counsel at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, also is leaving the organization, the sources tell CNN.
Both Morgan and Childress were prominent public faces for the NRA. Morgan appeared frequently on the group’s now-defunct streaming video service NRATV and even hosted his own program on the network. Lehman was the deputy to then-executive director Chris Cox, who resigned in June and was also the NRA’s top lobbyist. Lehman was filling the role of top lobbyist when he departed the organization.
The departures are the latest to roil the organization’s leadership, which has seen several members resign in recent weeks amid the controversy over NRA spending and the forced resignation of former NRA President Oliver North.
Childress, along with North, previously raised concerns about the amount of money the NRA was spending on outside lawyer William Brewer and his firm Brewer Attorneys & Counselors, according to documents obtained by CNN.
When North raised concerns about the NRA’s spending, he was effectively ousted as the group’s president. NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre accused North of trying to stage a coup, which North denied, and the NRA later sued North.
The NRA has denied that any of its payments to Brewer Attorneys are improper. Childress did not cite the financial controversy in his resignation letter.
It was not immediately clear when Morgan and Lehman announced their departures from the NRA, which has seen several top officials leave over the past few months.
Last week, Julie Golob, a professional sport shooter, announced that she will not be finishing her full three-year term as an NRA board director, and three NRA members from the more than 70-member board resigned after raising concerns about reports of lavish spending and mismanagement by LaPierre, The Washington Post reported.
Jennifer Baker exited her role in July as the director of public affairs for the NRA lobbying arm.
The NRA has also been locked in a legal battle with its former longtime advertising partner Ackerman McQueen, and shut down production in June of its online streaming network, NRATV, which was operated by Ackerman.