New York State’s Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit yesterday against the National Rifle Association, accusing the organization of embezzlement.
James says the NRA diverted millions of dollars of charitable donations to the organization and spent it on family vacations for executives, private jets and expensive dinners.
The lawsuit seeks the dissolution of the group.
Current and former executives “instituted a culture of self-dealing mismanagement” to benefit themselves and their families, causing the organization to lose $64 million in three years, James said.
The organization questioned James’ motives.
The lawsuit a “baseless, premeditated attack on the group” said NRA President Carolyn Meadows.
“It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda,” Meadows added. “This has been a power grab by a political opportunist — a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta. Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.”
The gun rights group is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, just outside the District of Columbia, but it has operated as a New York-registered nonprofit since its inception in 1871. That New York registration gives Ms. James jurisdiction in the lawsuit.
As a nonprofit, the NRA is allowed to use money only to further its mission and serve the interests of its members.
The gun-rights organization however was uncowed.
In a statement, CEO and Executive Director Wayne LaPierre called the lawsuit “an unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA.”
“The NRA is well governed, financially solvent and committed to good governance. We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on,” he said.
Some also question whether Democrats haven’t overplayed their hand, looking to dissolve one of the oldest and most popular gun rights advocacy organizations in the U.S. at a time when many fringe activists are calling for the disbanding and defunding of police departments.
Photo by Matt Cohen