This Morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James Filed Suit Against the NRA and its Top Executives for Allegedly Breaking NY Charities Law; if Successful, the Lawsuit could Dissolve the NRA’s New York Charter
This Suit Comes at a Time When the NRA is “Basically On Life Support” Due to Legal, Financial, and Internal Turmoil
NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to this morning’s announcement that New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the NRA, along with co-defendants NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, NRA General Counsel John Frazer, Former NRA Chief of Staff Josh Powell, and Former NRA CFO Woody Phillips, for breaking New York charities law––the result of an investigation that began in April 2019. The complaint seeks dissolution, meaning that if the suit is successful, the NRA could be disbanded by the State of New York.
“Even casual observers of the NRA have seen it turn from a safety-focused non-profit into a front group for gun manufacturers and a personal piggy bank for its leadership,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown has been warning regulators and the public about this corruption for years. The NRA has endangered millions of lives and done unspeakable damage to our political system, and we agree with Attorney General James that dissolution and all other remedies must be on the table.”
“Thoughts and prayers today to the NRA, which is losing money and political power so quickly that by the end of this case, there might not be anything left to dissolve,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The NRA is just as out of touch with American voters as they seem to be with NY law, and come November, we’re going to make sure they’re out of power, too.”
“The NRA calls itself a non-profit but seeks to enrich the gun lobby and its own leadership at every turn,” said Nick Suplina, managing director of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “For years, Everytown has asked regulators to hold the NRA accountable for this blatant violation of the non-profit law, and we are thrilled that Attorney General James is doing exactly that.”
This new lawsuit comes at a time when the NRA is “basically on life support,” with the Trump administration reportedly “aggressively reaching out to other gun groups” and the organization mired in financial, legal, and internal turmoil.
- Financial: In April, NPR uncovered a recording of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre saying that the NRA took “about a $100 million hit” in 2018 and 2019, and that for the NRA “to survive,” he took “about $80 million” out of the budget and “took it down to the studs.” This follows years of alleged financial mismanagement, during which NRA executive pay has skyrocketed, money has flowed to “unpaid” board members, and the NRA’s own board members and accountants have called into question lavish, legally suspect personal spending by its leadership––including reportedly millions of dollars’ worth of Italian suits and private jet trips for CEO Wayne LaPierre. Meanwhile, the NRA has run a deficit for three years in a row.
- Legal: The NRA was recently hit with a class action lawsuit, and it was already facing charges by New York State’s Department of Financial Services, under investigation by the U.S. Senate and the attorney general of DC, and locked in various lawsuits with former business partner Ackerman McQueen. The Guardian notes that if the New York Attorney General brings charges, “NRA could lose its coveted non-profit status in New York.”
- Internal: According to The Guardian, the NRA’s “drop in revenues accelerated in 2019 when several large NRA donors began a drive to oust LaPierre over allegations of mismanagement and self-dealing, and to promote reforms.” These donors have boasted that “$165 million in donations and planned gifts had been withheld.”