Trump Calls Lawsuit To Dissolve NRA 'A Very Terrible Thing'

Cheryl Sanders
August 6, 2020

New York's attorney general has announced a lawsuit aimed at dissolving the powerful National Rifle Association over alleged financial mismanagement.

In the NRA case, the state investigation uncovered an array of wrongdoing, including the awarding of lucrative deals to family members and close associates and the awarding of "no show" contracts to former employees to "buy their silence and continued loyalty", according to the statement. We are seeking to dissolve the NRA for years of self-dealing and illegal conduct that violate New York's charities laws and undermine its own mission. Oh yeah, and his organization will be dissolved. The NRA is all but certain to contest it.

In response, the NRA said that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack on the organization and the Second Amendment, which ensures the right to bear arms.

"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 in a statement.

The New York lawsuit named NRA leader Wayne LaPierre and three other current and former executives as defendants: corporate secretary and general counsel John Frazer, retired treasurer and chief financial officer Wilson Phillips, and Mr LaPierre's former chief of staff Joshua Powell.

Attorney General Letitia James accused the nonprofit's senior leadership of diverting millions of dollars for their use, squandering the funds on family vacations, private jets and expensive dinners.

LaPierre, who also serves as CEO, has held the top position at the organization for almost 30 years.

The attorney general's office has a wide range of regulatory and enforcement powers over charitable corporations and their trustees, including the NRA.

Among the dozens of examples of lavish spending that LaPierre was reimbursed for included "private jet travel for purely personal reasons; trips to the Bahamas to vacation on a yacht owned by the principal of numerous NRA vendors; use of a travel consultant for costly black vehicle services; gifts for favored friends and vendors; lucrative consulting contracts for ex-employees and board members; and excessive security costs".

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".

Those who attempted to blow the whistle on this behavior, the suit claims, were retaliated against by LaPierre.

Mr North, who was interviewed by state investigators, had accused Mr LaPierre of using the NRA to enrich himself. The state is also demanding millions of dollars in restitution and penalties.

Powell allegedly kept more than $100,000 through the NRA's housing and relocation reimbursements. While he began at $250,000, Powell's salary rose to $800,000.

Her attempt to disband the body is likely to be contested firmly by the NRA, which is yet to respond. Powell's father was paid more than $90,000 for his role, the lawsuit said.

Though it has headquarters in Virginia, the NRA was chartered as a non-profit in NY in 1871 and continues to be incorporated in the state. James' announcement of the lawsuit came after an investigation into the group's finances that spanned more than a year. "Instead, that money was diverted to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives", Racine said. The suit aims to recover those donated funds.

Because the original injunction had been stayed by the US Supreme Court, last week the trial court issued a second preliminary injunction against the Public Charge Rule, just for the duration of the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, finding that the rule was "exacerbating the spread of the disease by deterring people from seeking needed health care".

And that's not even touching on whatever the NRA's relationship to Russian Federation is. Trips to the Bahamas cost $500,000 alone, according to the suit. "I mean, that's huge".

"Everytown has been warning regulators and the public about this corruption for years".

The turmoil at the NRA also could have political ramifications ahead of the 2020 elections.

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