The National Rifle Association (NRA) is in a heap of trouble now that New York’s Attorney General has sued the powerful gun advocacy organization.
Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan state court after an 18-month investigation revealed misspending and self-dealings, alleging that the chief executive and several top lieutenants spent millions of dollars on lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates, and other questionable expenditures.
According to the Washington Times, the allegations have roiled the NRA and its leader, Wayne LaPierre, in a decades-long pattern, including hair and makeup for his wife and a $17 million post-employment contract for himself.
The Washington Post reported that $64 million had been drained from the nonprofit in just three years. Now, as part of her suit, James is calling for the removal of LaPierre as the leader, who has held the title for 39 years. She is also asking the court to force the CEO and three key deputies to repay the organization’s members for the ill-gotten funds and inflated salaries discovered through her investigation.
James has also accused the NRA leaders of flouting state and federal laws and signing off on reports and statements despite knowing they were fraudulent, while also diverting millions away from the NRA’s charitable mission in an attempt to benefit themselves and their allies. Furthermore, she asks that the court bar LaPierre, General Counsel John Frazer, former Treasurer Woody Phillips, and former Chief of Staff Joshua Powell from ever serving as a leader for a New York Charity again.
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said. She started her investigation in February 2019 and found “a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight at the NRA was illegal, oppressive, and fraudulent.”
Adding to the turmoil, Washington, D.C.’s attorney general Karl A. Racine simultaneously sued the NRA foundation, a charitable branch of the organization created to provide programs for firearm safety, marksmanship, and hunting safety. The D.C. claim alleges the foundation diverted funds to the NRA to help pay for lavish spending by leading executives.
During a Thursday news conference, James announced that due to the brazenness of the group’s violations of law, she seeks to dissolve the NRA. “The corruption was so broad and because they have basically destroyed all the assets of the NRA. Enough was enough…No one is above the law, not even the NRA.”
Problems within the organization came to light as the NRA’s deficit piled up. It struggled to maintain after a series of mass shootings eroded support for its pro-gun agenda. The NRA went from a nearly $28 million surplus in 2015 to a $36 million deficit in 2018.
James, a Democrat, contends that the organization’s prominence and good political relationships have given it a sense of invincibility and allowed a culture where nonprofit rules were routinely ignored, and state and federal laws were violated. This included the NRA’s own bylaws and employee handbooks to go flouted.
Once again, all darkness will come to light.