Thursday, 06 August 2020

New York’s Leftist AG Fires at NRA. Appeal to Judge: Dissolve It, the Execs Are Crooks

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New York’s leftist Attorney General Letitia James (shown) has filed a lawsuit to put the National Rifle Association out of business.

The radical Left has been aiming at the NRA for years, hoping to tie the organization to the almost exclusively black-on-black “gun violence” in major cities because of its long-time defense of the Second Amendment-protected right to own a firearm. Accusations that the NRA is guilty of “murder” and is “responsible for killing children” are common.

But James hopes to destroy the NRA with a lawsuit accusing its top executives of stealing from and mismanaging the organization.

The Lawsuit
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James huffed. “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.”

If what the attorney general says is true, the NRA and its members are the victims of a long-running criminal conspiracy, not the perpetrator, but facts never get in the way of an ideologue on a tear.

The lawsuit alleges that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre “has undertaken a series of actions to consolidate his position; to exploit that position for his personal benefit and that of his family; to continue, by use of a secret “poison pill contract,” his employment even after removal and ensuring NRA income for life; and to intimidate, punish, and expel anyone at a senior level who raised concerns about his conduct.”

LaPierre, the lawsuit alleges, has diverted “millions of dollars away from the charitable mission, imposing substantial reductions in its expenditures for core program services, including gun safety, education, training, member services and public affairs.”

From 2015-2018, the lawsuit alleges, the NRA reported reduced unrestricted assets of $63 million.

The lawsuit also alleges that LaPierre “hired and retained” three top executives “despite their lack of skills or experience for their respective roles and responsibilities.”

The lawsuit accuses LaPierre and the three of mismanaging NRA’s assets and diverting them “to benefit NRA insiders and favored vendors.”

LaPierre spent “millions” for “private plane trips for himself and his family, including trips for his family when he was not present,” the lawsuit alleges:

In the last five years, LaPierre and his family have visited the Bahamas by private air charter on at least eight occasions, at a cost of more than $500,000 to the NRA. On many of those trips, LaPierre and his family were gifted the use of a 107-foot yacht owned by an NRA vendor.

LaPierre received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from another NRA vendor in the form of complimentary safaris in Africa and other world-wide locations for himself and his spouse.

From 2013 to 2017, the lawsuit alleges, NRA reimbursed LaPierre for more than $65,000 in Christmas gifts for employees and business associates.

From 2015 to 2018, the NRA paid LaPierre about $10.2 million in salary and benefits, including more than $5 million in 2015 alone, the lawsuit reports.

As well, “LaPierre, with the aid of [his three top execs] procured personal financial benefits for board members, vendors and even former employees,” the lawsuit alleges.

LaPierre and his top execs ignored complaints about the mismanagement, and LaPierre “retaliated against the NRA President after personally lobbying him to take on the position,” the lawsuit alleges:

LaPierre withdrew his critical support after the President began to independently assess the governance of the NRA upon learning of complaints by whistleblowers, senior staff and donors. Senior members of the NRA’s financial staff jointly made a formal whistleblower complaint to the Audit Committee of the NRA Board in 2018 itemizing numerous practices that abused NRA assets.

That audit committee failed to respond properly to whistleblower complaints about malfeasance, the lawsuit alleges, thus trespassing the organization’s written policy and state law.

The Goal
Despite the obvious — that NRA, its members, and employees were victims if all the allegations are true — James would, again, disband the venerable guns-rights group, the presidents of which included three Union generals — Philip Sheridan, Ambrose Burnside, and Ulysses S. Grant, who, of course, was president of the United States — and two Marines, Joe Foss and Merritt Edson, both of whom became generals and received the Medal of Honor for actions during World War II’s Guadalcanal campaign.

“The Attorney General seeks a finding by this Court that the NRA is liable to be dissolved” because of the way the organization illegally conducted its business, the lawsuit says, and “because directors or members in control of the NRA have looted or wasted the corporation assets, have operated the NRA solely for their personal benefit, or have otherwise acted in an illegal, oppressive or fraudulent manner.”

The lawsuit also asks the court to force LaPierre and the execs to pay restitution.

Photo: AP Images

R. Cort Kirkwood is a long-time contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.

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