Florida Bulldog

Lobbyist Marion Hammer’s NRA sugar daddy LaPierre is gone, but she’s still riding high on NRA cash

Actor and incoming NRA president Charlton Heston with outgoing president Marion Hammer and Executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre in 1998.

By Dan Christensen,

National Rifle Association honcho Wayne LaPierre’s ticket to ride the NRA’s gravy train was canceled last week with a New York jury’s widely reported corruption findings, but his longtime Florida collaborator Marion Hammer continues riding high on NRA millions he funneled to her.

Hammer’s pay deals were among stacks of evidence the jury weighed before determining that the NRA, LaPierre, ex-treasurer and CFO Wilson “Woody” Phillips and general counsel and corporate secretary John Frazer are liable for violating the law. LaPierre, who resigned as executive vice president shortly before the civil corruption trial, was found to have abused his position for his personal benefit and by steering lucrative contracts to relatives and friends, like Hammer. He was ordered to pay $4.35 million.

For decades, the powerful Hammer has sought to come off to Florida’s public as the NRA’s unwavering advocate for the paramountcy of the Second Amendment. Here’s what she told the Tampa Bay Times when she announced her “retirement” in June 2022:

“I have fought for Second Amendment rights and the rights of gun owners for many, many years, and that’s my legacy,” Hammer said. “I stood tall against a wall of people who wanted to destroy the Constitution and punish law-abiding people for the acts of criminals.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James

Hammer never acknowledged the big NRA money undergirding her unbridled support for the pro-gun world. Indeed, she kept it hidden. Since at least 2007, the earliest date for which records are readily available, she didn’t file any of the required quarterly lobbyist compensation reports disclosing how much the NRA was paying her.


In New York Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation of the NRA, her office compiled evidence of Hammer’s lobbying and other work for pay for the NRA – including her NRA contracts – that is a study in contrasts with how Florida officials handled Democratic legislators’ complaints about her. The complaints followed Florida Bulldog reports in May 2019 disclosing that the NRA had paid Hammer more than $1 million to lobby in Florida over the years, and that she hadn’t disclosed any of it as required by state law.

Hammer faced potentially heavy fines. But the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature came through for her. The House did nothing. The Senate ignored its own rules that required it to investigate and instead shipped the matter to the obscure Office of Legislative Services. OLS staff lawyer Audrey Moore decided that Hammer, a registered NRA lobbyist, was not obliged to file those quarterly compensation reports. Why? Moore apparently took Hammer’s word that she was not a contract lobbyist for the NRA, merely a consultant.

Hammer told Moore she didn’t have copies of her NRA contracts to show her. And presto! Moore decided that Hammer was an in-house lobbyist for Unified Sportsmen of Florida (USF), the nonprofit created by Hammer in the 1970s, and that LaPierre testified is almost entirely funded by the NRA.

logo and name of unified sportsmen and florida

Laughable, of course. But it got Hammer off the hook. She was instructed to amend her lobbyist registrations for the years 2016-2019 to show that USF was in fact a “lobbying firm” and to file quarterly compensation reports on its behalf. No fines were assessed.

Had Florida officials obtained Hammer’s broadly worded NRA contracts they would have seen that LaPierre employed her as a kind of special operative beholden to him. Her duties included “providing information, advice and counsel on legislation, initiative, referenda, election, communication and media matters and other related services as may be requested by the NRA or NRA/ILA (National Rifle Association/Institute for Legislative Action).”

The New York Attorney General’s office compelled the NRA to produce its copy of Hammer’s contracts. You can read them here.

William Kelby Seanor, state director at the NRA/ILA, has replaced USF/Hammer as the NRA’s registered lobbyist in Florida.


Hammer’s lobbyist regulation case also went to Florida’s Commission on Ethics, where Hammer had at least a couple of friends on the commission and where she felt comfortable enough to make an apparently false statement in a 12-page interview she gave under oath. Hammer stated that USF paid for all her Florida lobbying work, even though she listed both USF and the NRA as her lobbying principals.

Marion Hammer

“We are a lobbying organization,” she said, referring to USF. But USF’s federal form 990 tax returns for 2014-2022 show it made no expenditures for lobbying in those fiscal years. And, as LaPierre has now said publicly, USF was almost entirely a creature of the NRA.

Further, when a commission investigator asked about the terms of her contracts with the NRA she told him they were for work “outside of Florida.” The contracts, however, don’t say that.

Hammer did not respond to Florida Bulldog’s emailed request for comment.


Following a deferential probe, the ethics commission found “no probable cause” to believe that Hammer had failed to follow state lobbyist registration requirements.

It hadn’t hurt that Hammer had an ethically challenged pal serving on the ethics commission.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Pensacola and his father state senate candidate Don Gaetz

At the time, former Republican Senate President Don Gaetz, the father of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Pensacola, rightly disclosed that he was an NRA member who had worked with Hammer on legislation. He said it would not influence his vote. Still, how deep their relationship went was not apparent at the time.

The Trace, a nonprofit that investigates gun violence in the U.S., obtained from a Florida records custodian emails between the Gaetzs and Hammer in 2015 regarding their strategizing together on how to pass a bill that would allow people to openly carry guns in public.

On June 16, 2015, Don Gaetz sent this brief email to his son and Hammer: “This will be the fight of the year. But the only thing the two Gaetz boys will have to argue about is whether to pass the House bill or the Senate bill. We’re a pretty good three-person team. Don”

Even so, Open Carry didn’t pass. Don Gaetz, 76, announced in October 2023 that he’s running again to return to the Senate, where he served from 2006-2016.


LaPierre and Hammer go way back. Hammer has been an NRA spokeswoman in Florida since the 1980s. LaPierre began as the NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer in 1991. Hammer was on the group’s board of directors during much of his tenure and served as the NRA’s president from 1995-1998. She remains an unpaid director today.

Wayne LaPierre leaves a New York courthouse after testifying in January.

LaPierre arranged Hammer’s lavish NRA pay scheme, “through several different arrangements,” according to LaPierre as he was cross-examined by New York Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Conley on Jan. 26. The trial lasted six weeks.

Some of what LaPierre had to say was already known. According to LaPierre, the NRA paid Hammer $84,000 a year out of his executive vice president’s budget – one of several budgets where the NRA stashed its cash – until late 2017. (NRA tax returns show Hammer received more than that: $147,000 in 2014, $172,000 in 2015 and $206,000 in 2016. The total: $525,000. For each of those years, the NRA reported she worked an average of five hours per week.)

None of it was reported to state lobbyist regulators.

When LaPierre gave Hammer her 2017 contract, it nearly doubled her annual compensation to $165,000.

“And under this contract, Ms. Hammer was to provide services as may be requested by the NRA and the NRA/ILA, right?” Assistant Attorney General Conley asked.

“Yes,” LaPierre replied.


Less than five months later, in April 2018, LaPierre negotiated an addendum to the NRA’s contract with Hammer.

“This contract increased Ms. Hammer’s compensation to $220,000 annually; correct?” asked Conley.

“Yes, that’s correct,” said LaPierre.

“For a ten-year period?”

“Yes, that’s correct, with a 30-day cancellation.”

LaPierre went on to admit to Conley that, as with the 2017 contract, the 2018 deal was not approved in advance as required by the NRA’s Audit Committee, the NRA’s president and one vice president.

The 10-year contract was inked when Hammer was nearly 79 years old. Today, she is 84. She will be 89 when the contract expires on Dec. 31, 2028, and the $220,000 in quarterly payments are due to stop.


But that’s not the only NRA cash Hammer rakes in.

Until 2022 she was also paid as a consultant through a separate arrangement with the NRA/ILA, LaPierre said. That arrangement was via the nonprofit Unified Sportsmen of Florida, where Hammer remains executive director today. Hammer has used USF over the years to endorse or oppose political candidates.

“It’s provided grants of approximately $216,000 a year to USF for several years, right?” said Conley.

“That sounds about right,” LaPierre said.

“And nearly all USF’s contributions have come from the NRA; correct?”

“Yes,” said LaPierre.

Much of that laundered NRA money went into Hammer’s pocket. USF’s tax returns state that it has paid Hammer an annual salary of $110,000 since at least 2005.

But that’s not all Hammer got from Unified Sportsmen of Florida. She also convinced USF’s board to approve several apparently illegal loans over the years.

Florida law prohibits not-for-profit corporations like USF from loaning money to their directors or officers. Unlike New York, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office appears to have done nothing to investigate.

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3 responses to “Lobbyist Marion Hammer’s NRA sugar daddy LaPierre is gone, but she’s still riding high on NRA cash”

  1. Incredibly great MUCKRAKING.

    Thank you.


    J Rip Holmes

  2. Great expose, Dan. Deserves national attention in the Times, Journal and Washington Post.

  3. I am an NRA Life-Endowment Member. I am apalled at the malfeasance if not outright crimes the NRA committed under LaPierre. But its just not Lazpierre. Its the entire Board of Directors. The entire corporation failed in its corporate responsibility , to its members, and to the law.

    The guilty deserve Prison.

    But I hope the NRA can be rehibilitated and returned to their core roots of training Civilians and Law Enforcement, lobbying for our 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, and to teach gun safety. I expect it to treat each memberships contribution with respect, and not to burn it up on private entertainment and crony deals with overpriced lawyers.

    But until then. not one more penny to the NRA from me. Maybe never. Mrs Hammer has done great work in Florida for gun rights in the past and deserves great credit. But if she too drank from the same well as LaPierre and the others then she must face the same laws the rest of us are held to.

    I think back at all the overtime hours I worked only to donate the money to the NRA during the Obama years and wonder, how much of that went to pay for LaPierres vacations or vacation homes ?

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