NY Attorney General Seeks to Dissolve NRA in Lawsuit

NRA responds with counter-suit
August 6, 2020 Updated: August 6, 2020

New York Attorney General Letitia James is filing a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association (NRA), seeking to dissolve the organization for alleged violations on state law governing charities.

In a news release on Aug. 6, the state’s top prosecutor said the organization has engaged in the “diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty.”

It names NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre as well as NRA executives John Frazier, Woody Phillips, and Joshua Powell as defendants. The suit is expected to be filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court this week.

The four executives allegedly “failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the NRA,” adding that they “used millions upon millions from NRA reserves for personal use, including trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, expensive meals, and other private travel.”

James, meanwhile, said that she wants to see the gun lobbying group, which is chartered in New York state, to shut down.

“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 said. “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.”

NRA logo
National Rifle Association members listen to speakers during the NRA’s annual Meetings and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on May 4, 2013. (Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle via AP)

In response, the NRA stated that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack on the organization and the Second Amendment, which ensures the right to bear arms.

“You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle,” the 150-year-old organization stated. “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.”

The NRA’s lawsuit was filed in New York, alleging that James “made the political prosecution of the NRA a central campaign theme” when she ran for office in 2018.

“Despite hopes that playing by the rules would procure a just outcome, the NRA has not been treated fairly by James’s office,” the 19-page suit stated. “The New York Democratic Party political machine seeks to harass, defund, and dismantle the NRA because of what it believes and what it says.”

President Donald Trump told reporters at White House on Aug. 6 that the lawsuit is a “terrible thing,” adding that it should move to another state such as Texas.

“This has been going on for a long time. They’ve been absolutely decimated by the cost of that lawsuit, and it’s very sad,” he said.

The NRA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.