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NY Attorney-General seeks to dissolve NRA over fraud allegations
Source: TribLIVE.com
  • The New York Attorney-General has filed a lawsuit against the NRA, seeking to dissolve the non-profit over corporate malfeasance
  • In a move similar to the dissolution of the Trump charity last year, the organisation could be disbanded if proved to be operating illegally
  • The NRA has been quick to hit back at the suit — NRA President Carolyn Meadows characterised the suit as "a power grab by a political opportunist"
  • The organisation has filed its own countersuit against the NYAG, claiming the action is a premeditated political attack
  • The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but given the NRA's huge financial and ideological backing of Republicans in U.S. elections, it'll be interesting to see what emerges before November 3

The New York Attorney-General has filed a lawsuit against the NRA, seeking to dissolve the non-profit over corporate malfeasance.

The civil lawsuit was filed Thursday in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

In a move similar to the dissolution of the Trump charity last year, Letitia James is seeking to dissolve the NRA over alleged "illegal conduct."

In a press release, the NYAG says NRA leadership should be held accountable over the "diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organisation for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty."

Four prominent NRA officials — CEO Wayne LaPierre, as well as executives Wilson “Woody” Philips, John Frazer and Joshua Powell — are named in the suit as the main offenders.

The lawsuit details how "LaPierre abused his position as a fiduciary to the NRA to obtain millions of dollars in personal benefits in the form of undisclosed, excessive compensation," with the help of Philips, Frazer and Powell.

Return serve

The NRA has been quick to hit back at the suit. NRA President Carolyn Meadows characterised the suit as "a power grab by a political opportunist."

"You could have set your watch by it," Ms Meadows stated, "the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle."

Wayne LaPierre went even further.

"The NYAG’s actions are an affront to democracy and freedom," LaPierre said.

"This is an unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA – the fiercest defender of America’s freedom at the ballot box for decades. The NRA is well-governed, financially solvent, and committed to good governance. We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on," he said.

A long fight

The NRA has filed its own countersuit against the NYAG, claiming the action is a premeditated political attack on the organisation.

In addition to the NYAG suit, the office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia filed a separate suit against the Washington-based NRA Foundation — the charity arm of the organisation, which is meant to be financially independent.

D.C. AG Karl Racine accuses the NRA and NRA Foundation of "misusing charitable funds to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives."

He says the Foundation's administration was manipulated by the NRA, and "allowed the NRA to exploit it through risky multi-million-dollar loans, [...] including a $5 million loan that the NRA has never repaid."

The D.C. suit is seeking to recover the allegedly misappropriated funds, and to impose changes on the charity's governance to ensure its independence from the NRA.

The suits and countersuits will be played out in two different districts and will likely take many months — if not years — to resolve.

In addition to the civil lawsuits, the NYAG has also referred matters to the Internal Revenue Service.

What's next?

If the NYAG's claims of self-dealing and fraud are carried, the NRA executives could be forced to repay millions in restitution. There's an alleged gap of $64 million over just three years, with implications of private travel, lavish lifestyles and nepotistic payouts draining the non-profit's balance sheet.

President Donald Trump has said the NRA should just "move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life," and that the "Radical Left New York is trying to destroy the NRA."

The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but given the NRA's huge financial and ideological backing of Republicans in U.S. elections, it'll be interesting to see what emerges before November 3.


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