New York Attorney General Investigation

NRA v. New York AG Petition

August 16, 2019

Filing Summary

In April 2019, the Attorney General of New York, Letitia James, began investigating the NRA and related entities for violations of New York law relating primarily to the NRA’s not-for-profit status. As part of its investigation, the OAG subpoenaed Lt. Col. Oliver North, a former president and current member of the NRA board of directors, to produce documents and give testimony. The NRA brought this lawsuit to try to force the OAG to allow NRA lawyers to participate in North’s deposition, even though that deposition is part of an investigation in the NRA’s own conduct.

Key Points

  • On April 26, 2019, the OAG notified the NRA that it is “currently investigating conduct by the [NRA] and affiliated entities, including related party transactions between the NRA and its Board members; unauthorized political activity; and potentially false or misleading disclosures in regulatory filings.” (Para. 7; see Exhibit 1.)
  • North is a former President of the NRA and current member of the NRA board of directors. (Para. 6.) On July 26, 2019, the OAG sent North a subpoena requiring him to give testimony on August 20, 2019 and to produce documents relating to “financial impropriety, mismanagement, misuse or waste of assets, governance failures or other wrongdoing at the [NRA].” (Paras. 8­–10; see Exhibit 2 (copy of subpoena).)
  • Brendan Sullivan, of Williams & Connolly LLP, is North’s lawyer. He sent a letter to the NRA on July 29, 2019. (Para. 8.) That letter stated that North would comply with the subpoena and assured the NRA that North’s counsel and the OAG would be “sensitive to protecting the NRA’s privilege.” (Paras. 12–13.)
  • North’s lawyers identified 899 pages of documents for production to the OAG. (Para. 16.) The NRA asked that it be permitted to review those documents for privileged materials before the documents were produced. (Para. 14.) North’s counsel and the OAG agreed that the NRA could do so. (See Dkt. No. 3.) The NRA claimed a few dozen additional redactions. (Para. 17)
  • The NRA asked to participate in North’s deposition to object to questions on privilege grounds. (Para. 15.) The OAG refused. (Para. 19.)
  • The petition requests that the court: (1) modify the subpoena to allow counsel for the NRA and its board to participate in North’s deposition; and (2) suspend the OAG’s deposition of North. (Pg. 7.)