New York Attorney General Sues to Force the NRA to Dissolve


President Donald Trump shakes hands with NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre, has he arrives to speak to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Even though it had been teased to the media as an announcement of an impending indictment of President Trump on financial shenanigans, the press conference held earlier today by New York Attorney General Letitia James was a bit of a blockbuster despite the head-fake. What she announced was nothing less than her intent to put the National Rifle Association out of business by going after its business practices.

She alleges that Wayne LaPierre and a cabal of cronies used the NRA as their personal piggy-bank.

New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest and most influential pro-gun organization in the nation. Attorney General James charges the organization with illegal conduct because of their diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization 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. The suit specifically charges the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson “Woody” Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA.

Before I go on, I have to get this off my chest. Why in the name of Heaven would any conservative non-profit, particularly one with a profile like the NRA, stay incorporated in New York? That sounds like a death wish to me.

This may all be true, but public service and protecting the wallets of the NRA’s donors is not what James is about.

Under the guise of preventing corruption — and let me say I have no brief to defend LaPierre — New York is attempting to decapitate the gun rights movement in the United States. The NRA, for all its failings, has been instrumental in pushing back on stupid gun control legislation and regulations across the country because it had the resources and reach to accomplish that task. Without a large organization and an energized membership that can make members of Congress and state legislators sit up and take notice, we will see an inevitable chipping away at the Second Amendment because of the lack of lobbying and legal firepower.

The second part of the equation is that this took place a mere 90-days from a presidential election. It is no secret that the NRA contributes heavily to GOP candidates and pushed very hard to get President Trump elected. If they are mired in a fight for their life they will have less time and less money to spend on the election.

Across the nation, political decisions are being made on gun rights by politicians who are increasingly hostile to the very idea of gun ownership. This spans both parties. I’m not a fan of how the NRA operates but if we don’t have an NRA we need something like it.

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