New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit to Dissolve the NRA
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit aiming to dissolve the NRA because of a history of “self-dealing” and misuse of funds for personal endeavors. The D.C. Attorney General’s office also filed a lawsuit against them.
Dissolve the NRA?
The complaint is 163 pages long:
“For nearly three decades, Wayne LaPierre has served as the chief executive officer of the NRA and has exploited the organization for his financial benefit, and the benefit of a close circle of NRA staff, board members, and vendors.” Excerpt from complaint
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine used a slightly different attack on their “charitable” status: “Charitable organizations function as public trusts — and District law requires them to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests.”
The NRA has always been a significant lobbying organization that has always endorsed political candidates. It must be election season.
The New York lawsuit alleges that LaPierre, former chief of staff Joshua Powell, former CFO Wilson “Woody” Phillips, and general counsel John Frazer, engaged in self-dealing and ignored conflicts of interest in violation of NRA policy. Alleged conflicts included granting millions of dollars worth of contracts to companies like information technology firm HomeTelos, whose CEO had a personal relationship with Phillips that was not disclosed at the time.
The complaint also seeks to remove LaPierre, Powell, Phillips, and Frazer because of their self-dealings. The NRA filed a countersuit and hit back:
“This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend. You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle. 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. As evidenced by the lawsuit filed by the NRA today against the NY AG, we not only will not shrink from this fight – we will confront it and prevail.”
Carolyn Meadows, NRA President on Twitter
The difficulty in fighting this lawsuit to dissolve the NRA is that there is a paper trail of problems with the leadership of the NRA. The organization has been fraught with allegations of misuse of funds in some very public upheavals.
In 2019, Oliver North was ousted from his position as President of the NRA when he publicly stated there were improprieties in the finances of the organization. He was accused of leading the attempt to oust LaPierre. Wayne LaPierre claimed that North was deliberately trying to damage the organization and the 2nd amendment. We previously reported this situation.
Then the NRA dumped Dana Loesch, their long time spokesperson and Chris Cox, their head lobbyist, resigned. They pulled the plug on the NRATV, or the Ackerman Queen company, for which Dana Loesch worked, and breached their contract. Cox was accused of conspiracy in a plot to remove LaPierre, which we also reported.
Such public displays of disunity have a root somewhere – it could be as simple as jealousy or as insidious as money grubbing. None of it is good for those of us who have fought alongside the NRA for the second amendment for decades.
With at least 5 million members, the organization has been on the forefront of the 2nd amendment. Their grants for students and support for shooting competitions and education has been an important component to the 2nd amendment, not to mention the powerful lobbying. But they have made some mistakes. Whether or not the New York courts will cut them any slack whatsoever is a question.