The New York City Attorney announced yesterday that it filed a legal action against the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and its leader Wayne LaPierre for financial fraud and misconduct, with the aim of dissolving the conservative lobby group.
“The influence of the NRA has been so powerful that the organization was left unchecked for decades as top executives diverted millions into their own pockets,” said state attorney general Letitia James.
“The NRA is plagued with fraud and abuse, which is why we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law”, He added.
According to the prosecutor, LaPierre, who led the NRA for nearly three decades, and three other senior officials of that organization, founded in 1871, used member funds and donations as their “Personal piggy bank”.
And they spent tens of millions of dollars on themselves and on accomplices violating the laws that govern non-profit organizations, the official said. The four of them “They basically looted their assets”James said, and they rendered the once-wealthy group that pumped millions into Republican campaigns virtually insolvent.
The NRA is plagued with fraud and abuse, which is why we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law
In a statement, the NRA accused James of filing a lawsuit to “Score political points“In view of the elections in three months.
“This was a baseless and premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.”Said NRA President Carolyn Meadows.
In addition, he added that the NRA filed a counterclaim yesterday accusing James.
For decades, the NRA has represented millions of gun owners and advocates across the US, fighting with substantial success to weaken and eliminate laws that imposed controls, based on the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
In politics, the NRA backed candidates who aligned with its views and hit those who supported gun regulation.
LaPierre became one of the main men of power in relation to the issue in Washington and played a major role in the 2016 election of Donald Trump, whose sons, Eric and Donald Jr, are members and participate in events of the NRA.
Asked about the lawsuit, Trump said at the White House that it was “something terrible.” And he added: “I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.”.
James said LaPierre illegally used funds from the NRA to pay for private jets to take his family on luxurious vacations to the Bahamas, and to transport other relatives across the country. In addition, he charged the NRA with African safaris and even his personal golf membership, something that was not officially planned.
He also maintained with funds from the association his own travel consultant for $ 26,500 per month in Los Angeles, although the NRA has its own travel agent.
According to James, Stone It also accepted luxury gifts and yacht charters from NRA vendors, and a $ 17 million retirement package was awarded without approval from the association’s board.
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The court filing indicates that many of these abuses were endorsed by the other three defendants, all recruited by LaPierre.
Among them, former NRA treasurer Wilson Phillips, who is accused of hiring himself as a consultant to the organization for 1.8 US $ million, and hiding tens of millions in expenses for NRA executives, such as payments to the public relations contractor, Ackerman Queen.
“I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.
Also indicted were General Counsel John Frazer, and former Chief of Staff Joshua Powell.
The prosecutor denied that she acted out of political motivation. But she said the state has only forced two other NGOs to close in recent years, one of them, the Trump Foundation.
James’ impeachment comes as the NRA, while financially weakened, was expected to pump large sums into the November general election.
A priori, given that the power of the NRA, it is believed that the legal battle could drag on for years.
The Washington-based Violence Policy Center said it is confident the lawsuit will make “at last“Hold the NRA accountable after years of focusing on” defending the interests of arms manufacturers and enriching their leaders. “