In a move that is a shot at the Second Amendment and a first step towards potential Biden administration moves to severely restrict gun ownership, the attorneys general of New York state and the District of Columbia are suing the National Rifle Association (NRA) to force its dissolution. The NRA is fighting back with a lawsuit of their own. President Donald Trump was quick to comment.
“I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life. And I’ve told them that for a long time. I think they should move to Texas – Texas would be a great state or to another state of their choosing – but I would say that Texas would be a great place and an appropriate place for the NRA,” said President Trump.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 6, 2020
The NRA was ready for the lawsuit and filed suit themselves. The NRA claims NY state Attorney General Letitia James “made the political prosecution of the NRA a central campaign theme” when she was running for office in 2018, and has been biased against the organization since then. “Despite hopes that playing by the rules would procure a just outcome, the NRA has not been treated fairly by James’s office. The New York Democratic Party political machine seeks to harass, defund, and dismantle the NRA because of what it believes and what it says,” an NRA statement explained.
Nevertheless, James breathlessly insists the group has “a culture of self-dealing, taking millions of dollars for personal use and granting contracts that benefited leaders’ family and associates… For nearly three decades, Wayne LaPierre has served as the chief executive officer of the NRA and has exploited the organization for his financial benefit, and the benefit of a close circle of NRA staff, board members, and vendors,” the massive civil complaint alleges.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in his suit, “Charitable organizations function as public trusts — and District law requires them to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests.”
The New York state lawsuit charges that LaPierre, former chief of staff Joshua Powell, former CFO Wilson “Woody” Phillips, and general counsel John Frazer, involved themselves in self-dealing and turned a blind eye to conflicts of interest. Supposed conflicts included giving millions in contracts to companies like technology firm HomeTelos, whose CEO had a close relationship with Phillips.
It also records personal expenses for which LaPierre was allegedly reimbursed by the organization. These include personal air travel for him and his family and presents to friends. Added were millions of dollars for personal and home security. The lawsuit also claims that LaPierre brought on board Phillips, Powell, and Frazer “despite their lack of skills or experience for their respective roles and responsibilities.”
In addition to asking for the NRA to be destroyed, James’ office seeks to have LaPierre and Frazer ousted from their roles, and a declaration from the court saying “that directors or members in control of the NRA have looted or wasted the NRA’s charitable assets, have perpetuated the corporation solely for their personal benefit, or have otherwise acted in an illegal, oppressive or fraudulent manner.”
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said in a statement to the press. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”
NRA President Carolyn Meadows called the lawsuit “a baseless, premeditated attack… You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle. 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. Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.” Meadows said the NRA “will not shrink from this fight – we will confront it and prevail.”