The democratic attorney general of Washington, D.C., sued the National Rifle Association and its affiliated NRA Foundation on Thursday, the same day the democratic attorney general of New York state sued to have the NRA dissolved entirely.
What are the details?
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued the NRA on Thursday, alleging during a press conference that “the NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets.”
She further claimed, “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.”
James made headlines with the move, and afterward, longtime NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre reacted in a statement, “The NYAG’s actions are an affront to democracy and freedom. This is an unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA — the fiercest defender of America’s freedom at the ballot box for decades.”
He added, “The NRA is well governed, financially solvent, and committed to good governance. We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on.”
(2/2) The NRA is well governed, financially solvent, and committed to good governance. We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on.”
— NRA (@NRA)1596745139.0
The same morning, D.C. Attorney General Karl Rancine announced his own attack on the NRA — going after the organization along with its affiliated foundation further alleging misappropriation of funds.
The lawsuit is asking a court to appoint someone to “monitor all Foundational financial decisions and transactions” and to “impose a constructive trust, for the benefit of the Foundation, over Foundation funds improperly diverted to the NRA in violation of District Law and the Foundation’s nonprofit purpose.”
According to a press release put out by Rancine’s office:
In 2017, the NRA Foundation’s board approved a $5 million loan request from the NRA, despite awareness of the NRA’s financial problems. In 2018, the NRA requested a second $5 million loan, which the Foundation’s Board also approved. Later, the Board also granted repeated requests to extend and modify loan terms in ways that benefitted the NRA and harmed the Foundation—including a change that allowed the NRA to repay other debt before it repaid the Foundation. As of August 2020, the NRA still owes the Foundation $5 million.
The NRA tweeted Thursday night, “From our cold, dead hands.”
The NRA has been a frequent target of progressive politicians pushing for gun control, but the organization has also faced several internal problems in recent years.
There has been an ongoing factional war within organization, pitting some of its most ardent gun-rights supporters and loyalists against one another. The NRA has traded lawsuits with Ackerman McQueen, which crafted some of its most prominent messages for decades, eventually severing ties with it last year and scrapping its controversial NRA-TV, which aired many of its most controversial messages.
The internal battles reached a fevered pitch at its 2019 annual meeting where its then-president, Oliver North, was denied a traditional second term amid a tussle with LaPierre as he sought to independently review the NRA’s expenses and operations. He accused LaPierre of exerting “dictatorial” control.
Chris Cox, the NRA’s longtime lobbyist and widely viewed as a likely successor to LaPierre, left after being accused of working behind the scenes with North to undermine LaPierre.