New York AG Sues to Dissolve National Rifle Association

August 6, 2020 by Gracie Kreth
New York State Attorney General Letitia James takes a question after announcing that the state is suing the National Rifle Association during a press conference, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in New York. James said that the state is seeking to put the powerful gun advocacy organization out of business over allegations that high-ranking executives diverted millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association Thursday. The lawsuit calls to dissolve the country’s largest pro-gun organization alleging years of corruption and leadership’s personal use of millions of dollars in donations to the organization.

“The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law,” James said Thursday.

In the lawsuit, James lists dozens of examples in which the 148-year-old non-profit organization’s leaders used donations for private jets, family trips to the Bahamas, expensive meals, luxury black car services, golf course memberships, and other personal expenses. Registered in New York as a 501(c)(4), the organization is required to use its assets in accordance with the interests and mission of the NRA.

This lawsuit comes as the NRA has been declining financially for several years, and James said the organization’s alleged failure to comply with fiduciary responsibility and government laws is the reason for its $64 million loss in just three years. The lawsuit also accuses the NRA leadership of creating a culture within the NRA that defies internal controls and policies.

“The NRA board’s audit committee was negligent in its duty to ensure appropriate, competent, and judicious stewardship of assets by NRA leadership,” a statement from the attorney general’s office said. “Specifically, the committee failed to assure standard fiscal controls, failed to respond adequately to whistleblowers, affirmatively took steps to conceal the nature and scope of whistleblower concerns from external auditors, and failed to review potential conflicts of interest for employees.” 

James alleges the executive and board members abused their power by diverting tens of millions of dollars from the NRA on top of their own “grossly excessive salaries and bonuses.” 

The lawsuit specifically charges the NRA as a whole and individuals within the organization including Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Wilson Phillips, former Chief of Staff and Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer.

In addition to fully dissolving the organization, James has also asked the court to ensure LaPierre, Phillips, Powell, and Frazer fully repay the funds which they received unlawfully , pay penalties, and never again serve on a board of a charity in the state of New York.

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