Friday, August 7, 2020

New York Attorney General Seeks to Dissolve National Rifle Association

Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
State probe into nonprofit alleges it found tens of millions in diverted funds, mismanagement; NRA calls suit ‘a rank political vendetta’
New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association, alleging that insiders violated the state’s nonprofit laws by illegally diverting tens of millions of dollars from the group through excessive expenses and contracts that benefited relatives or close associates.
The extraordinary move against the nation’s largest gun-rights group comes after an 18-month investigation by Ms. James. As a nonprofit registered in New York since its founding in 1871, the NRA is regulated by the attorney general’s office.
The New York suit alleges that longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre and three other top officials “instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight at the NRA,” failed to properly manage the organization’s money and violated numerous state and federal laws.
The NRA quickly responded by filing a lawsuit in New York state court seeking an injunction against Ms. James, claiming she was targeting the organization for political reasons.
“This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend,” said NRA President Carolyn Meadows in a statement.
She called the New York lawsuit “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.”
Separately, Washington, D.C.’s attorney general on Thursday sued the NRA and the NRA Foundation, alleging the organizations misused Foundation funds for noncharitable purposes. The NRA Foundation, which is a related 501(c)3 charity, is regulated by that attorney general’s office. The suit seeks return of NRA Foundation funds allegedly wasted on the NRA and a court order to ensure the foundation is operated independently.
Among the allegations in the New York attorney general’s suit against the 70-year-old Mr. LaPierre, a national figure who has run the NRA for three decades: That he spent $3.6 million of NRA funds over the last two years on unwarranted travel consultants, flew family members on NRA-paid private jets when he wasn’t aboard and secured a $17 million post-employment contract for himself without board approval.
Since 2015, he also allegedly took eight trips to the Bahamas by private air charter, often picking up his niece and her family in Nebraska along the way, according to the complaint. The trips cost the NRA more than $500,000, the complaint says.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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