Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston

The National Rifle Association has sued long-time ad agency Ackerman McQueen and its Mercury Group PR unit for allegedly failing to turn over its business records to justify its billings.

The organization paid Ackerman McQueen more than $42M in 2017.

According to the suit filed in Virginia Circuit Court, the NRA “requested access to material, readily available records that Ackerman and Mercury are contractually obligated to provide,” but the defendants refused to provide them.

The gun group claims it negotiated with AM for access to the records for the better part of a year and its patience has now run out.  

It wants business records including “budgets purportedly approved by the NRA, copies of material contracts for which the NRA is purportedly liable, and readily available performance data—all to inform the judgment of its fiduciaries.”

The NRA claims its contract with AM entitles it upon “reasonable notice” to examine any and all “files, books and records” of both Ackerman and Mercury which pertain to matters covered by the parties’ contract.

AM dismissed the suit as “frivolous, inaccurate and intended to cause harm to the reputation of our company.”

The Oklahoma City-based shop said in a statement: “We will defend our position and performance aggressively and look forward to continuing to serve the NRA’s membership.”

The NRA and AM have worked together for decades and created the high-impact “from my cold, dead hands” messaging of the late actor and five-time NRA president Charlton Heston.