In news that hard to hear — but not as shocking as we wish it was — New York Attorney General Letitia James announced today that her office is suing to dissolve the National Rife Association. Her revelations about how the NRA has spent donor monies are very revealing.
James’ suit claims that the NRA’s senior leadership have been “looting” the donations of America’s gun owners to fill their own “personal piggy bank.”
James further claims that the corrupt leadership illegally diverted millions of dollars from their intended purpose — gun rights activism — and into the pockets of Wayne LaPierre and a few chosen friends and family.
We have reported before how LaPierre used the organization’s jet to shuttle his relatives around the country. We didn’t know the half of it!
Letitia James alleged that NRA leaders took funds intended for activism to pay for private jet trips, multiple family vacations to the Bahamas, $65,000 on Christmas gifts, $40,000 on suits at a Beverly Hills boutique, and more.
In total, James alleges that the excessive spending was directly related to a $64 million dollar reduction in the bottom line of the organization –this in just three years. These actions have left the NRA running at a deficit.
Ultimately, James called for the NRA’s leader, Wayne LaPierre, to be removed as the head of the organization.
The Left Smells Blood In The Water
Being an anti-gun leftist Democrat, James is only too happy about this outcome. She said at her press conference this morning, “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 made the statement that the NRA “has operated as a breeding ground for greed, abuse and brazen illegality,” she said, adding: “No one is above the law.”
Of course, this couldn’t come at a worse time. The presidential election is less than 90 days away. This is when America’s gun owners are supposed to be a galvanized fist, punishing anti-gun legislators and compromising politicians.
Instead, the largest voice for gun owners is under a black cloud of it’s own making. This leaves gun owners without their main battering ram against anti-gun candidates — a battering ram they’ve already paid for in years past.
The Gritty Details
In the lawsuit — which is more than 160 pages long — James names LaPierre and three other current and former senior members of the leadership team as being “directly involved” in the nefarious dealings.
Not content to get rid of the corrupt leadership, the anti-gun attorney general wants to take out the entire NRA while she’s at it.
If Letitia James wants to, she can push this all the way — and she’s got enough dirt to do just that. This will mean more millions of dollars spent on legal battles that drag out and keep the NRA from it’s primary duty: defending the gun rights of it’s members and donors.
James listed instances of financial malfeasance, including details such as Wayne LaPierre’s taking his family to the Bahamas at least eight times. Those trips, alone, cost the NRA almost half a million dollars.
James alleges that the NRA should repay members for the money they’ve squandered because it violates state law. According to the laws regulating non-profit organizations in New York, the NRA is required to “use their assets to serve the interests of their membership.”
Many gun owners think of the NRA as being headquartered in Virginia, but their not-for-profit paperwork is filed in New York. That’s where it was originally founded in 1871 and despite having their main office in Virginia, they still fall under New York — and thus James’ — jurisdiction.
There’s no universe where eight trips to the Bahamas, and $65,000 at Neiman Marcus for Christmas presents are business expenses.
James knows that even if she can’t get the NRA dissolved, if she forced them to repay all the wasted money, they’d be insolvent and be forced to dissolve anyway.
“As today’s complaint lays out, we’ve found the NRA instead fostered a culture of non-compliance and disregard for internal controls that led to the waste and loss of millions of assets and contributed to the NRA’s current deteriorated financial state,” James said.
Further, LaPierre is accused of taking actions to “intimidate, punish, and expel anyone at a senior level who raised concerns about his conduct”.
All In The Family And Friends
The lawsuit named LaPierre and three other men as the root of the problem at the NRA. Those other men include the NRA’s former treasurer and CFO, Wilson “Woody” Phillips; the former chief of staff and executive director of general operations, Joshua Powell; and corporate secretary and general counsel, John Frazer.
In addition to wasting money on trips, gifts, clothes and more, the four are accused of making backroom deals to give contracts to their families and friends.
James lists an example in the case of former CFO Woody Phillips. Not six months before his retirement, Phillips allegedly entered into an “independent consulting agreement” with the NRA which agreed to pay him $30,000 per month for five years.
That’s $1.8 million dollars for ‘consulting’ AFTER he’s retired from his fat salary.
This is all grievous and indefensible. And there’s example after example in the lawsuit.
The NRA Replies
The poor current NRA president, Carolyn Meadows, is stuck holding the bag, tasked with defending the organization during what could turn out to be the fight of it’s nearly 150-year-long life.
Meadows made the point that this was a hit piece by an anti-gun, anti-Trump Democrat attorney general — perfectly timed to create havoc before the election.
Meadow said, “You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle. It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda. This has been a power grab by a political opportunist – a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta.”
We agree that it’s being used to full effect by radical leftists who hate America and the Second Amendment.
But the NRA should have known better. They should have done better.
This Is NOT The Time For Weak Gun Groups
America’s gun owners don’t need bloated, fat cats. They don’t need 105 foot yachts — as LaPierre was accused of cavorting on during his vacations in the Bahamas.
We need lean, mean, tough, brutal gun lobbyists. Lobbyists who would rightly consider themselves a failure if they haven’t dramatically improved gun rights in decades despite a nearly limitless war chest — continually refilled by bread-and-butter Americans who want to protect the Second Amendment.
After all, gun owners don’t give a damn about a seat at the table. They don’t care if they’re unpopular or aren’t friends with all the other lobbyists in Washington, DC.
Gun owners want to win. And the NRA isn’t getting the job done. Millions of gun owners have put their faith in these fallible, corrupt men who were only in it for themselves.
Who pays? Our grandkids, who are going to have to fight for their gun rights against far greater odds than LaPierre ever faced.