New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit in an effort to dissolve the National Rifle Association. The suit, reviewed by TheWrap, notes that as a not-for-profit charity, “the NRA is legally required to serve the interests of its membership and advance its charitable mission,” but alleges leadership allocated money to individuals in organization leadership.
“Just a few minutes ago, my office filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association to dissolve the organization in its entirety for years of self-dealing and illegal conduct,” James announced during a Thursday press conference, saying the NRA is “the largest and most influential pro-gun organization” in the United States.
Its power allowed the NRA to go “unchecked for decades,” she said, accusing the association of reallocating money to executives and creating no-show contracts to buy “silence” and encourage “loyalty.”
She said that conduct is not only illegal but goes against the organization’s own mission.
James made the announcement during a live-streamed press conference that was announced Wednesday with no indication of what the conference or “major national announcement” would be about. It followed an 18-month investigation in which James and her team found evidence to allege that top executives engaged in fraud in the millions of dollars and used the NRA as, in her words, “a personal piggy bank.”
The suit charges the NRA as a whole in addition to four defendants: Executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, general counsel John Frazer, former chief financial officer Woody Phillips and former chief of staff Joshua Powell. The suit seeks not only the dissolution of the NRA, but repayment of unlawful assets. Phillips and Powell have left the NRA, but the suit specifically seeks to remove LaPierre and Frazer from their leadership roles and ensure none of the four of them can ever again serve on the board of a charity in New York.
Asked Thursday about James’ action, Trump said, “That’s a very terrible thing that just happened. I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.”