New York AG sues to break up National Rifle Association

Cheryl Sanders
August 6, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday encouraged the NRA to relocate to Texas, shortly after the state attorney generals in NY and Washington announced the lawsuits.

The lawsuit specifically charged the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Wilson "Woody" Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with "failing to manage the NRA's funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA".

Simultaneously, the Washington, D.C., attorney general sued the NRA Foundation, a charitable arm of the organization created to provide programs for firearm safety, marksmanship and hunting safety, accusing it of diverting funds to the NRA to help pay for lavish spending by its top executives.

James said the four individual defendants "failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the NRA and used millions upon millions from NRA reserves for personal use, including trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, expensive meals, and other private travel". The organization went from a almost $28 million surplus in 2015 to a $36 million deficit in 2018.

"The NRA's influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets", said James.

In addition to dissolving the NRA, Ms James said she'll seek a court order for Mr LaPierre and the others to pay penalties and make full restitution for unlawful profits and salaries.

James said Wednesday she would be making a "major" announcement, shortly after reports that Deutsche Bank turned over President Donald Trump's financial records. Trump reportedly owed as much as $300 million to the German bank over deals before his election in 2016, including for a hotel in Washington, D.C.

The NRA described the lawsuit as a "baseless, premeditated attack".

The civil suit alleges that the NRA and four of its top officials, including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, diverted millions of dollars away from its charitable mission and instituted "a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight".

The attorney general outlined a litany of charges against the defendants, but accused Mr LaPierre, long the face of the powerful gun lobby group, of being the "central figure" behind the organisation's wrongdoings.

James noted, for example, that LaPierre spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars of the NRA's charitable assets for private plane trips for himself and his family, including extended family when he was not present".

Phillips, who oversaw the NRA's financial operations and retired in 2018, allegedly lied on financial disclosure forms, violated NRA policy and secured himself a $1.8 million contract for consulting services to the group's incoming treasurer.

Her attempt to disband the body is likely to be contested firmly by the NRA, which is yet to respond. He was sacked after 3 1/2 years for allegedly misappropriating NRA funds.

President Donald Trump takes the stage to address the National Rifle Association's annual conference at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, April 26, 2019. The organization has shown financial support for Trump.

Other reports by iNewsToday