NRA lawsuit: NY attorney general accuses Wayne LaPierre, other execs of $64M fraud scheme

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued to shut down the NRA, accusing execs at the nonprofit group of a $64 million fraud scheme.

8/7/2020 12:18:00 AM

The NRA, which boasts more than five million members, has faced financial and leadership turmoil in recent years. Now, it's facing a lawsuit.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued to shut down the NRA, accusing execs at the nonprofit group of a $64 million fraud scheme.

USA TODAYThe leaders of the powerful National Rifle Association were accused Thursday of participating in massive fraud that skimmed at least $64 million from the gun rights group to finance lavish lifestyles featuring private jet travel to exclusive resorts, according to a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who seeks to shut down the organization.

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The civil action, which names longtime NRA chief Wayne LaPierre and three other executives, details an array of alleged wrongdoing that severely weakened the nearly 150-year-old organization.“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said."The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”

The NRA has been chartered in New York since the late 19th century, which grants James significant leverage to shut it down under state laws governing charities and nonprofit groups.James accused the NRA leaders of wasteful, unchecked spending that transformed a $27.8 million surplus in 2015 to a $36.3 million net deficit in 2018.

NRA promises confrontationThe NRA, which quickly filed a countersuit against the attorney general, cast her action as a politically motivated,"premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.""You could have set your watch by it," NRA President Carolyn Meadows said."It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda. This has been a power grab by a political opportunist – a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta. Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.”

Meadows said the organization would"not shrink from this fight.""We will confront it and prevail," she said.In its lawsuit, the conservative organization accused James, a Democrat, of attempting to fulfill a campaign promise to"take down the NRA."

"To silence the NRA’s advocacy, and neutralize it as an opposing political force, James promised that she would leverage 'the constitutional power as an attorney general to regulate charities' to instigate a fishing expedition into the NRA’s ‘legitimacy,’ ” the organization claimed.

As the James lawsuit was announced, President Donald Trump's photo and the NRA's endorsement of the president's reelection was prominently featured on the group's website.Departing the White House on Thursday, Trump called the lawsuit"a terrible thing" and suggested the NRA should “move to Texas and lead a ... beautiful life.” He said the group had been “decimated” by costs of recent legal actions and called it a “sad” situation.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted that the NRA would be welcomed"with open arms."The NRA has built a reputation as the fiercest gun rights advocate in the nation since its incorporation in 1871, asserting itself as a major force in national politics and government.

Private trips to the Bahamas among allegationsThe controversial organization, which boasts more than 5 million members, has faced financial and leadership turmoil, headlined by a public power struggle between LaPierre and NRA President Oliver North that ended in North's ouster last year.

James' lawsuit accuses the NRA and its leaders of a broad scope of lavish spending and disregard for state and federal laws that jeopardized the organization's financial standing.Among the allegations:•LaPierre, the NRA's chief executive and executive vice president since 1991, and his family are accused of traveling to the Bahamas on a private charter at least eight times over three years, costing the NRA $500,000. On some of those trips, an NRA vendor allowed him to use a 107-foot yacht.

•As the face of the organization, LaPierre is accused of spending more than $3.6 million in NRA funds on car services and travel consultants in the past two years, as well as teeing up a post-employment contract worth more than $17 million.•Former treasurer and CFO Wilson"Woody" Phillips allegedly set up a $1.8 million consulting deal for himself just before his retirement and oversaw an arrangement in which Ackerman McQueen, an advertising and public relations firm, paid for NRA leaders' entertainment and travel costs before billing the organization. That arrangement is the subject of a separate legal dispute.

Also named in the lawsuit are former NRA chief of staff Joshua Powell and current Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer.James launched an investigation into the NRA last year after news outlets, including The New Yorker and Trace, published investigations into the organization's leadership and precarious financial structure.

The attorney general's legal action claims the organization's institutional controls and audit capabilities should have caught much of the financial mismanagement that put the organization in peril.James seeks to dissolve the group and have the four NRA leaders pay full restitution and penalties, including their salaries earned while employees of the association. She also seeks a court order barring the leaders from serving on any New York-based charitable boards.

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Gun control advocates applauded the attorney general's action Thursday, claiming that the group betrayed its members.“The NRA has lost its way," Brady Campaign President Kris Brown said."Instead of advocating for common-sense gun policies that protect gun owners, families and communities, the NRA has instead become an extremist organization, focused on lining their own pockets and the pockets of the gun industry at the expense of all Americans."

Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center, called the group a"shell of the juggernaut that once held dangerous sway over Washington.""Wayne LaPierre and his allies sit at the center of a tangled web of corruption and self-dealing," Thomas said."They are nothing more than crooks in fancy suits.”

There is precedent for the New York Attorney General's Office to force the dissolution of a high-profile charitable group.In June 2018, then-Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed suit against Trump and the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the president and his children of breaking oversight laws and using the charity to boost his presidential campaign.

Six months later, Underwood and the Trump Foundation agreed to a settlement that wiped out the charity's certificate of incorporation and ended its existence. Its $1.8 million in assets was distributed to other charities.In WashingtonIn addition to James' action Thursday, Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine filed a separate lawsuit against the NRA and the NRA Foundation, alleging that charitable funds were diverted for the benefit of the executives.

According to the lawsuit, the foundation was controlled by the NRA and"allowed the NRA to exploit it through risky multimillion-dollar loans – including a $5 million loan that the NRA has never repaid.""Additionally, the foundation agreed to pay the NRA millions of dollars in fees without documentation of the work the NRA was performing or how it supported the foundation’s charitable purposes," the lawsuit claims.

Read more: USA TODAY »

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Imagine trying to sue a gun club made up of US citizens exercising their rights Why not investigate dr blasio and Cuomo while your at it Awww; an angry black woman is coming for people’s second amendment rights. And a woman like her will be VP to dementia Joe Biden? And the DNC thinks this is a winning strategy for November? 🤣 AnnCoulter realDonaldTrump BarackObama TuckerCarlson NRA Trump2020Landslide

Thoughts and Prayers..... Are they mailing refunds? Doesn't matter NRA or No NRA going to have to kill me to get my guns. Next up to investigate the CLINTON FOUNDATION. Trump, an unindicted co-conspirator suggested the NRA move to Texas. What does that tell you about Texas? Defund Antifa ban it I just recently lost my job after contracting the coronavirus and now I have no way to pay any of my upcoming bills. I’ve been denied unemployment and honestly I need any help that I can get.. I’m embarrassed to ask but I have nowhere else to turn. My cash app is $melaniesdestiny

or sell it to a chinese company ? bytedance buying nra ? howabout that? She just assured 5 million votes for Trump

NY attorney general seeks to dissolve NRANew York’s attorney general sued the National Rifle Association on Thursday, seeking to put the powerful gun advocacy organization out of business over allegations that high-ranking executives... Good luck lol My thoughts and prayers Good riddance to the NRA!! Trump meltdown in 3....2....1....

Gun stocks edge higher after NY AG Letitia James sues to dissolve the NRAShares of gun makers edged higher Thursday, but pared earlier gains, after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit seeking to dissolve the... ComfortablySmug Again, never give these people an inch, they will take your rights away. Gun stocks are the most weird stocks. They rise when the business are threatened. Wish oil stocks work that way. ComfortablySmug There's barely any firearms or ammo as it is. Now what little is left will be wiped clean.

NY attorney general files lawsuit that seeks to dissolve the NRANY AG Letitia James files lawsuit against the NRA and 4 individuals, including longtime leader Wayne LaPierre, seeking to dissolve the gun rights advocacy group for “diverting charitable funds.” Can we dissolve the Black Lives Matter movement for diverting their funds? Dissolve Trump

New York AG sues to dissolve the NRA, alleging widespread fraudThe lawsuit claims the NRA’s leadership spent funds improperly, engaged in self-dealing, and made false or misleading disclosures. dissolvetheNRA Can't happen soon enough. The NRA is nothing but a terrorist organization. It used to be for hunters to learn how to use rifles safely, but even that is a misconception. If thats what it takes to dissolve a group or organization the Democrats are in trouble.

New York Attorney General Moves To Dissolve The NRA After Fraud InvestigationJUST IN: The New York attorney general is seeking to dissolve the NRA. It’s the most aggressive sanction the state could seek against the powerful gun-rights group after an investigation found evidence that the NRA is “fraught with fraud and abuse.” Elitist greed in lieu of honesty and integrity? Color me surprised! The downfall of the NRA is a welcome thought. YES! No

New York Attorney General Seeks To Shut Down NRABREAKING: The Attorney General of New York will seek to dissolve the National Rifle Association after an 18-month investigation found wide-ranging fraud and abuse. Dems trying to silence political opposition again! Obama era abuses are back baby! Hmm if they can do it !! good luck