• Thomas Parker

New York sues NRA, wants to shut it down

New York's attorney general is suing the National Rifle Association, arguing that years of corruption and misspending demands the dissolution of the 2nd Amendment advocacy organization.

The suit was swiftly followed by two others: The NRA struck back with a federal lawsuit against the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, claiming her action was politically motivated and violated the organization’s First Amendment rights. And the attorney general of Washington, D.C., filed suit against the NRA and its charitable foundation, alleging that the NRA misused millions of dollars of the foundation’s funds.

New York Attorney General Letitia James—who has special jurisdiction over the NRA because it was chartered as a nonprofit in New York 148 years ago—also sued four current or former NRA leaders, seeking tens of millions of dollars in restitution. In addition to Wayne LaPierre, the longtime chief executive, they are John Frazer, the organization’s general counsel; Josh Powell, a former top lieutenant of LaPierre; and Wilson Phillips, a former chief financial officer.

The lawsuit accuses the NRA and the executives of “violating numerous state and federal laws” by enriching themselves, as well as their friends, families and allies, and taking improper actions that cost the organization $64 million over three years. James is also seeking to oust LaPierre and Frazer, and to bar all four men from serving on nonprofit boards in New York again.

In a statement, LaPierre said: “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. We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on.”

James, a Democrat, also threatened to investigate the NRA's nonprofit status during her campaign for attorney general in 2018. A week before she was elected, James called the NRA "a terrorist organization" in an interview with Ebony magazine.

James said on Thursday that the suit was unrelated to her personal views on gun violence, but the NRA cited her comments in a counter-suit to end the AG's case against them.

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