New York Attorney General Seeking to Dissolve NRA Due to Fraud
New York's attorney general is accusing the National Rifle Association (NRA) of fraud and is seeking to dissolve the gun rights group. Letitia James' lawsuit, filed Thursday (Aug. 6), comes after an 18-month investigation.
Almost simultaneously, Washington, D.C.'s attorney general sued the NRA Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization (per the Associated Press). Both lawsuits include claims of financial misconduct; that top NRA executives used the organization's funds for personal gain or for lavish spending. The accused include NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
James outlined the basis of New York state's lawsuit against the NRA in a series of tweets as it was being reported nationally by media outlets like NPR and Fox News.
"The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse," James writes. "We are seeking to dissolve the NRA for years of self-dealing and illegal conduct that violate New York's charities laws and undermine its own mission. The NRA diverted millions of dollars away from its charitable mission for personal use by senior leadership."
LaPierre, general counsel John Frazer, former CEO Woody Phillips and former chief of staff Joshua Powell are named in the lawsuit.
Shortly before 1PM ET, the NRA responded on Twitter with a message that ties this lawsuit to the upcoming election cycle.
"Our members won't be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom," the third of three tweets reads.
Seeking to dissolve the NRA is the most aggressive sanction the attorney general could have asked for. James' office has oversight of the not-for-profit, as they're registered in the state of New York. The state's lawsuit also alleges that LaPierre historically retaliated against any whistleblowers, while the Washington, D.C. lawsuit claims that low membership numbers and lavish spending at the NRA led to the foundation being exploited for money to stay afloat.
The Associated Press report includes comment from NRA President Carolyn Meadows, who says the group will be countersuing the New York attorney general's office.
For years, the NRA and country music were formally tied in the form of the NRA Country lifestyle brand. The NRA also aired television programming aimed toward a hunting and gun rights-supporting audience, and it regularly named an "Artist of the Month." After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, NRA Country revealed a new website without any direct ties to specific country music artists. Per Rolling Stone Country at the time, since 2010 dozens of top-tier country artists (Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, Luke Combs and Hank Williams Jr. were a few) were named Artist of the Month, with 37 still on the website before it changed course.
In 2019, NRATV shuttered amid internal crisis and strife between the group and its longtime marketing arm, Ackerman McQueen. A look at the NRA Country website today shows very little in the way of programming or event information. The NRA Country Twitter page is still active, but mostly retweets country music and NRA-related content. Here is their most recent message:
No Way These Country Stars Are 50 Years Old Already: