New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit on Thursday calling for the dissolution of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and accusing several of its leaders of diverting millions of dollars for personal use.
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that it has prevented our nation from taking action against gun violence. But it has been abusing its power, and under the guise, the NRA is rotten with fraud and abuse,” said James.
In a press conference, the prosecutor has indicated that she seeks to “dissolve the NRA”, arguing that no organization, no matter how much influence it has, maybe above the law. The lawsuit directly targets the NRA as an entity, but also its historic leader, Wayne LaPierre, and three other executives, whom she accuses of breaking various state and federal laws and contributing to the loss of more than $ 64 million from the organization in just three years.
The New York prosecutor denounces dozens of instances in which those executives used millions of dollars from the NRA, which is a non-profit organization, for their personal use, which includes trips with their families to the Bahamas, private flights and meals in restaurants, among others.
According to James, those four people “basically looted” the assets of the organization, which is going through significant financial problems.
In addition to recovering the money defrauded, James said it seeks to prevent the four individual defendants from being back on the board of any other nonprofit in New York State.
She accuses all four of instituting in the NRA a culture of illegal, oppressive and fraudulent self-management, mismanagement and negligent oversight, as well as evading all internal controls for their own benefit. In addition, it alleges that the organization violated multiple laws, including those that govern the operation of entities of this type, of presenting false reports in tax returns and of giving inadequate salary reports.
Research open since 2019
Given this situation, the complaint, filed with the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks the dissolution of the NRA and the disqualification of the four defendants for such charges.
The action is the result of an investigation opened in 2019 and the NRA has repeatedly accused the Democrat James of bias, for statements against her in the past.
The National Rifle Association was founded in 1871 and for decades it has been a highly influential force in American politics. In the last elections, the organization spent millions of dollars to support the election of Donald Trump, although facing the presidential elections in November it is maintaining a much lower profile.