Donor Class Action Lawsuit

Second Amended Complaint

January 22, 2020

Filing Summary

This filing is the class action Plaintiffs’ second amended complaint. It is almost identical to the prior complaints, but it adds more detail regarding representations made by the Defendants regarding the use of charitable funds and includes additional named Plaintiffs (Lorannda Borja, Todd Chesney, and Brent Weber).  It also adds several additional factual allegations about the NRA’s use of funds.

Key Points

  • The second amended complaint adds specificity by listing each donation made by Dell’Aquila and the date of each payment. It also includes donations by other class Plaintiffs. (Paras. 37–40.)
  • The second amended complaint also provides examples of solicitations made by Defendants. For instance, the NRA’s website contains a “Uniform Disclosure Statement” that provides that “[c]ontributions raised will be used to advance the mission of the NRA.” (Para. 14.) Similarly, the NRA Foundation has a “Donor Bill of Rights” which provides that donors are “assured [their] gifts will be used for the purposes for which they are given.” (Para. 20.) Finally, the complaint cites to an email sent by LaPierre in July 2014 raising money to defeat Democrats in the 2014 midterm election (Para. 25), as well as an email sent in July 2019 to fight against “radical anti-gun candidates.” (Para. 26).
  • The second amended complaint argues that the class Plaintiffs have standing because they seek a repayment of donations fraudulently induced by Defendants’ misrepresentations, rather than to control the actions of the Defendants.
  • The second amended complaint alleges that the Plaintiffs relied on statements by Defendants that “their funds would be used for gun safety education; to promote shooting sports and hunter safety; to foster wildlife conservation; and to protect gun ownership rights in the United States.” (Paras. 71–72.)
  • The Plaintiffs allege that the NRA used solicited funds for alternative purposes including: (1) “spending over $97,000 per day for the legal services of William A. Brewer … without obtaining documentation justifying such expense” and $2 million per month for the services of the Brewer firm over a thirteen-month period; (2) “spending $274,695 for clothing purchases for … LaPierre from a Beverly Hills clothing store—through payments made to Ackerman … without reporting such expenses as income for LaPierre”; (3) “spending $243,644 on luxury travel for … LaPierre to the Bahamas [and other destinations]—through payments made to Ackerman … without reporting such compensation as income for LaPierre”; (4) “making inflated payments to the NRA’s advertising agency, Ackerman …, without obtaining documentation justifying such expense”; (5) “spending $5,446.16 per month for a luxury apartment for Megan Allen, an intern”; (6) “spending tens of thousands of dollars on hair and make-up expenses for [LaPierre’s wife]”; (7) “spending funds to investigate the purchase of a $6 million mansion for … LaPierre on a lake and golf course near Dallas, Texas”; (8) “paying for private jets to fly … LaPierre’s relatives” and otherwise paying for “private jet travel for … LaPierre on a regular basis”; and (9) “promoting Josh Powell to Executive Director of General Operations, after the NRA settled two separate sexual harassment suits against … Powell.” (Para. 74.)
  • The Plaintiffs allege that the NRA Foundation used solicited funds for alternative purposes including: (1) “transferring approximately $80 million from the NRA Foundation (a tax-deductible charitable organization) to the NRA” (a 501(c)(4) organization), which then used those funds for the alternative purposes described above; (2) “paying $425,000 per year for nine years to the Speedway Children’s Charity, a non-profit organization not related to the NRA’s core mission”; and (3) “paying at least $125,000 to Youth for Tomorrow, a non-profit organization not related to the NRA’s core mission” that included LaPierre’s wife, Susan, on its board for five years. (Para. 83.)
  • The second amended complaint provides that the “total amount of damages incurred by all Plaintiffs … is greater than $5 million.” (Para. 77.) The Plaintiffs request from the court damages “equal to the amounts such persons donated to the NRA [and NRA Foundation] … together with costs, punitive damages and attorneys[’] fees.” (Pgs. 19–20.) [As to their RICO claims, the Plaintiffs request that a three times multiplier be applied. (Pgs. 23, 26.) ]