New York AG Files Suit Seeking to Dissolve the NRA in its Entirety; DC AG Sues NRA at the Same Time
This Morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James Filed Suit Against the NRA and its Top Executives for Allegedly Breaking NY Charities Law; if Successful, the lawsuit could Dissolve the NRA’s New York Charter
At the Same Time, D.C. AG Karl Racine Sued the NRA for Exerting Undue Control over the NRA Foundation
Today, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit against the NRA, along with co-defendants NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, NRA General Counsel John Frazer, Former NRA Chief of Staff Josh Powell, and Former NRA CFO Woody Phillips, for breaking New York charities law––the result of an investigation that began in April 2019. The complaint seeks dissolution, meaning that if the suit is successful, the NRA could be disbanded by the State of New York.
At the same time, D.C Attorney General Karl Racine sued the NRA for exerting undue control over the NRA Foundation, a nominally separate, 501(c)(3) organization that has “been operated as a wholly controlled subsidiary of the NRA, without independence or a separate identity from the NRA.”
These new lawsuits come at a time when the NRA is “basically on life support,” with the Trump administration reportedly “aggressively reaching out to other gun groups” and the organization mired in financial, legal, and internal turmoil.
- Financial: In April, NPR uncovered a recording of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre saying that the NRA took “about a $100 million hit” in 2018 and 2019, and that for the NRA “to survive,” he took “about $80 million” out of the budget and “took it down to the studs.” This follows years of alleged financial mismanagement, during which NRA executive pay has skyrocketed, money has flowed to “unpaid” board members, and the NRA’s own board members and accountants have called into question lavish, legally suspect personal spending by its leadership––including reportedly millions of dollars’ worth of Italian suits and private jet trips for CEO Wayne LaPierre. Meanwhile, the NRA has run a deficit for three years in a row.
- Legal: The NRA was recently hit with a class action lawsuit, and it was already facing charges by New York State’s Department of Financial Services, under investigation by the U.S. Senate and the attorney general of DC, and locked in various lawsuits with former business partner Ackerman McQueen. The Guardian notes that if the New York Attorney General brings charges, “NRA could lose its coveted non-profit status in New York.”
- Internal: According to The Guardian, the NRA’s “drop in revenues accelerated in 2019 when several large NRA donors began a drive to oust LaPierre over allegations of mismanagement and self-dealing, and to promote reforms.” These donors have boasted that “$165 million in donations and planned gifts had been withheld.”