New York Attorney General Investigation

NY AG Files Amended Complaint Against NRA, LaPierre, and Others

August 16, 2021

On August 16, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James field an amended complaint in her office’s lawsuit against the National Rifle Association to add new allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement.

The new filing alleges that since the original complaint was filed in August 2020, “the NRA, [CEO Wayne] LaPierre, and [General Counsel John] Frazer have continued the same course of misconduct in violation of New York law, IRS requirements for exempt organizations, NRA bylaws, and internal policies and procedures without objection from the NRA Board.” (para. 580).

The new allegations in the amended complaint, in large part, draw from revelations from the NRA’s failed bankruptcy, dismissed in May, as evidence in its case of how LaPierre and the NRA have failed to make any meaningful changes in the operation of the NRA — highlighting again what a disaster the NRA’s bankruptcy filing was.

Below, NRA Watch has pulled out some of the new allegations in the amended complaint of note (paragraph citations included):

New Allegations of Note

  • The NRA has paid more than $10 million for LaPierre’s private flights, an amount that for years, according to the Attorney General, should have been reported to the IRS as taxable income but wasn’t (paras 217-219).
  • Between March 2018 and December 2020, NRA paid the Brewer law firm nearly $75 million The bankruptcy “cost the NRA tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and other costs” (paras 13, 494, 646).
  • LaPierre’s travel consultant worked for decades in a no-bid relationship with the NRA until  2019, when the NRA conducted a competitive bidding process that was “largely a sham” in which the consultant had conversations with NRA staff to ensure that she would win (paras 190, 196).
  • The NRA paid $200,000 for two personal trips for LaPierre and Ackerman McQueen executive Tony Makris to Arizona. LaPierre and Makris stayed at the Four Seasons on both trips, and on one leg, departed on separate private flights — on the NRA’s dime (para 206).
  • LaPierre signed the NRA’s 2019 New York state nonprofit filing despite the fact that he knew it “included materially misleading information and falsely attested to the accuracy of the information provided, under penalty of perjury” (para 566) 
  • For years, LaPierre and members of his family traveled to the Bahamas to stay on a yacht owned by the principal stakeholder in three NRA vendors. Between 2018 and January 2021, the NRA paid two of these firms $28.7 million in excess of what was agreed to in their contracts (paras 167, 176, 606-614).