New York and DC Attorneys General Investigations
As a result of the sprawling evidence of financial mismanagement, self-dealing, and questionable business practices, New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether the NRA violated New York’s charities law. District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is also investigating the NRA and NRA Foundation for suspected violations of nonprofit law. These regulators have a particular interest in the organization, since the NRA is chartered in New York, and the NRA Foundation is chartered in Washington DC.
As the New York Times reported, “[W]hile both the N.R.A. and its foundation are tax-exempt, only donations to the foundation are tax-deductible. Tax experts say the foundation has become a back door for tax-deductible donations to the N.R.A. itself.” In addition to issuing a document preservation notice to the NRA, the New York Attorney General has also reportedly issued an additional subpoena to the NRA that calls for the production of “records related to transfers among N.R.A.-controlled entities, including the N.R.A. Foundation, an affiliated charity.” The inquiry also reportedly seeks information about regulatory filings, potential improper campaign coordination, and financial compensation for directors, among other topics.
While the investigations remain in the investigatory stage (and thus are not generating public court filings), two disputes between the NRA and the Office of the New York Attorney General (OAG) have spilled out into court filings.
First, as part of its investigation, the OAG subpoenaed Lt. Col. Oliver North, a former NRA president and current member of the NRA board of directors, to produce documents and give testimony. Incredibly, the NRA – the subject of the investigation – demanded to attend the testimony of Col. North. When the OAG refused, the NRA brought a lawsuit to try to force the OAG to allow NRA lawyers to participate in North’s testimony. After a full briefing and hearing on the issue, the New York State Court rejected the NRA’s lawsuit.
Second, in October 2019, the OAG was forced to sue the NRA after “a pattern of obstruction and interference” in the investigation, including efforts to prevent its former vendor, Ackerman McQueen, from promptly complying with a subpoena. Once again, the court ruled against the NRA.
The filings on this page are a selection of the more significant filings in the matter. The full docket can be accessed at the New York courts website here.