The attorney general of New York took action Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is “fraught with fraud and abuse.”
Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.
The suit alleges that top NRA executives misused charitable funds for personal gain, awarded contracts to friends and family members, and provided contracts to former employees to ensure loyalty.
Seeking to dissolve the NRA is the most aggressive sanction James could have sought against the not-for-profit organization, which James has jurisdiction over because it is registered in New York. James has a wide range of authorities relating to nonprofits in the state, including the authority to force organizations to cease operations or dissolve. The NRA is all but certain to contest it.
“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. “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.”
Secret Recording Reveals NRA’s Legal Troubles Have Cost The Organization $100 Million
The lawsuit seeks to dissolve the NRA in its entirety and asks the court to order LaPierre and other current and former executives to pay back unlawful profits. It also seeks to remove LaPierre and Frazer from the organization’s leadership and prevent the four named individuals from ever serving again on the board of a charity in New York.
The New York attorney general did not allege that NRA general counsel John Frazer committed financial misconduct, but said that he failed to comply with board governance procedures, failed to ensure the NRA was in compliance with whistleblower laws and repeatedly certified false or misleading annual statements by the NRA.
The turmoil at the NRA also could have political ramifications ahead of the 2020 elections. The NRA spent tens of millions of dollars in 2016 to support then-candidate Donald Trump — a role it appears it will be unlikely to be able to repeat given its current financial condition.
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