New York Attorney General Tish James is taking decisive action against the National Rifle Association, seeking to fully dissolve the organization for what she described on Twitter as “years of self-dealing and illegal conduct that violate New York’s charities laws and undermine its own mission.”
As Politico notes, the civil lawsuit comes at a time that could threaten the biggest guns rights group which generously contributed to Donald Trump’s 2016 election, especially given the current state of the country as it deals with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the lawsuit, the NRA is accused of diverting millions of dollars away from its charitable mission for personal use by senior leadership, including longtime CEO, Wayne LaPierre. The lawsuit also accuses the organization and its leadership of failing to comply with several state and federal laws. These actions, James claimed on Twitter, “contributed to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA.”
Four senior leaders in particular (again, including LaPierre) according to James used millions from the NRA reserves to take trips for them and their families to the Bahamas and safari trips in Africa, private jets, expensive meals and other personal expenses.
“They and board members at the NRA abused their power & illegally diverted or facilitated the diversion of tens of millions of dollars from the NRA,” she tweeted. “The NRA has failed to carry out its stated mission for many years, and instead, operated as a breeding ground for greed and abuse.”
In particular, according to Politico, LaPierre is accused of using a “secret ‘poison pill contract'” in order to guarantee himself a lifetime income from the organization. He also allegedly hired unqualified individuals into senior positions so that they could help him misuse the organization’s money for his own benefit.
James said in a news conference that she was seeking dissolution, “given the breadth and the depth of the corruption, the illegality and the brazen attempts to basically evade the law.”
The NRA responded on Twitter to the lawsuit, slamming the James’ lawsuit as a “baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.”
“It’s 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,” the gun group added. “Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.”
Donald Trump also came to the group’s defense, calling out the “Radical Left New York” for “trying to destroy the NRA” and making this an issue about the Second Amendment.
“Your guns will be taken away, immediately and without notice. No police, no guns!” Trump claimed on Twitter.
According to Politico, Trump also told reporters that he thinks the NRA should move to Texas, “and lead a very good and beautiful life.”