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New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit To Dissolve The NRA

by : Cameron Frew on : 06 Aug 2020 18:07
Letitia James NRA ThumbLetitia James NRA ThumbPA Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association, citing its years of alleged corruption and misspending. 

James’ filing takes aim at the NRA and its executives for ‘violating numerous state and federal laws’ by profiting from the charity, whether it be themselves of friends, family and allies. Over the past three years, the actions of the nonprofit’s leadership have reportedly cost the organisation $64 million.

Aligned with the US’ en-masse commitment to the Second Amendment of the constitution – the right to bear arms – the NRA has existed for 148 years, long lobbying for gun rights. With more than five million members, it’s bound to be an intense fight between the two parties.

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New York State Attorney General Letitia JamesNew York State Attorney General Letitia JamesPA Images

The civil lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan today, August 6, also seeks millions of dollars in restitution from NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre, general counsel John Frazer, former top lieutenant Josh Powell and former chief financial officer Woody Phillips.

Wayne LaPierre NRAWayne LaPierre NRAPA Images

In a statement as per The New York Times, James said:

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The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organisation went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets. The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organisation is above the law.

As the NRA is registered as a nonprofit in New York, James has regulatory authority over the organisation. The attorney general is also looking to permanently bar the four men from working in further nonprofit charities.

New York State Attorney General Letitia JamesNew York State Attorney General Letitia JamesPA Images

LaPierre reportedly spent $3.6 million on travel consultants over the past three years, in addition to flying to the Bahamas ‘by private air charter at least eight times. James’ filing also cited ‘improper expense documentation, improper wage reporting and improper income tax withholding’ among other issues.

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As per BBC News, James accused the four defendants of instituting ‘a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight at the NRA that was illegal, oppressive and fraudulent’.

Responding today to the notion that politics motivated her suit, James replied: ‘We followed the facts and the law. We’ve come to the conclusion that the NRA unfortunately was serving as a personal piggy bank to four individual defendants.’

Wayne LaPierre Wayne LaPierre PA Images

James once dubbed the NRA a ‘terrorist organisation’, placing her on the nonprofit’s radar. William A. Brewer III, longtime lawyer for the NRA, responded at the time: ‘It seemed unprofessional and inappropriate for someone who is a candidate for that type of high office to prejudge any private citizen with no facts, no evidence’.

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He added: ‘You target your enemies and then you figure out a way to use the power that you have to destroy them. That’s not right.’

In a later statement, James’s office responded in a statement: ‘We won’t be intimidated by the NRA’s bully tactics, whether in the press or in the courtroom.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Charity, Corruption, Gun Control, Letitia James, National Rifle Association, New York, New York Attorney General, NRA, US

Credits

The New York Times and 1 other
  1. The New York Times

    New York Attorney General Sues N.R.A. and Seeks Its Closure

  2. BBC News

    New York attorney general sues to dissolve NRA