New York AG sues to dissolve the NRA, alleging widespread fraud

Source: Politico | August 6, 2020 | Betsy Woodruff Swan, Max Cohen and Michelle Bocanegra

The lawsuit claims the NRA’s leadership spent funds improperly, engaged in self-dealing, and made false or misleading disclosures.

New York state is suing to dissolve the National Rifle Association, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday, presenting a new, major threat to the country’s biggest gun rights group just months before the presidential election.

The civil lawsuit, which New York Attorney General Letitia James filed in state court, alleges that the NRA’s leadership spent funds improperly, engaged in self-dealing, and made false or misleading disclosures to the attorney general and the IRS.

It comes at an immensely precarious moment for the group. The NRA spent big to help President Donald Trump get elected in 2016, but now faces serious financial challenges –– in part because of hefty legal bills.

On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the NRA hard. It had to cancel its yearly meeting, which is usually a major fundraising event. And it has laid off scores of employees.

But even before the pandemic, the group’s leadership faced criticism for what many characterized as exorbitant spending. And an ugly legal fight with its former longtime advertising firm also pushed the group’s inner drama into the spotlight.

The lawsuit accuses Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s longtime CEO, of using “a secret ‘poison pill contract’” to guarantee himself lifetime income from the gun group. And it says he hired unskilled people for senior roles to help him misuse the group’s finances to enrich himself.

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