New York Attorney General Seeks to Dissolve NRA
Updated: Aug 12
BY: Isabella Gattuso
The National Rifle Association (NRA) prides itself on being one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the United States. It is also championed as a protector of the Second Amendment, which gives citizens the right to bear arms. However, those titles may soon be broken. On August 6th, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that she filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA after investigations that had found the organization rife with fraud, abuse, and nepotism.
The suit claims that four NRA executives (CEO Wayne LaPierre, CFO Woody Phillips, former chief of staff Joshua Powell, and general counsel John Frazer) had taken the non-profit’s money for personal use, made false contracts for their friends and family so they could abet in the improper use of funds, gave misleading information to the IRS and the Attorney General, and dozens of other claims.
The investigation which gave basis to the lawsuit also estimated that the NRA lost $63 million in assets due to the negligent organization, driving the association from thriving to running a consistent budget deficit for years. The lawsuit is based on how actions taken by the four individuals allegedly broke several of New York’s Law.
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is following in James’ footsteps by filing his own lawsuit against the NRA Foundation, a group closely associated with the NRA. It claims that the NRA Foundation has broken district laws by “failing to operate independently and placing the NRA’s personal interests over its charitable interests.”
The debate on the NRA’s dissolution is not completely black and white, however. Months before the election, it has become incredibly close, taking out one of the largest donors towards the Trump Administration’s (re)election campaign.
At best it’s a mere coincidence; but at worst, a cheap ploy to take down a political adversary. Opponents to the dissolution also add that there is no need to eradicate the NRA. Leaders of the NRA, if true, have partaken in some terrible and greedy actions. Those actions hurt the NRA too. In addition, it would completely get rid of the services they provide, such as firearm safety training.
Others claim that there’s no use in cutting off the head when the power lies in the foundation. Alternative gun groups that rival the NRA, such as Gun Owners of America, would simply take the place of the NRA. Even Trump weighed in and suggested the NRA “move to Texas.” However, James responded that any non-profit seeking to move would ultimately require the permission of the Attorney General and has implied she would not allow a move to happen.
On the other hand, there’s no saying this is a politically motivated attack. The NRA’s history is fraught with controversy; especially in recent history, their defense of gun rights in the wake of some of the most frequent and deadly school shootings in the world and support for Trump has given them a lot of negative reception. James has stated she would “target the NRA” even before she took office, insinuating it was never about Trump. James also added she was disturbed by the lack of scrutiny on the NRA, which allows them to take substantial amounts of money as their own with no repercussions for years. By dissolving the entire organization, there is no more inherent fraud and abuse, but instead a chance to start over.
given them a lot of negative reception. James has stated she would “target the NRA” even before she took office, insinuating it was never about Trump. James also added she was disturbed by the lack of scrutiny on the NRA, which allows them to take substantial amounts of money as their own with no repercussions for years. By dissolving the entire organization, there is no more inherent fraud and abuse, but instead a chance to start over.
While the NRA and Attorney General(s) dispute over the possible political ramifications and necessity of the resolution, it is important to remember the proposed changes are uncertain until the case is decided in a court of law. However, David Samuels, former deputy chief for the Charities Bureau in the Attorney General’s office believes they have “a very good strong case for dissolving the NRA under New York Law.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/07/new-yorks-lawsuit-dissolve-nra-is-outrag eous/ https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/06/nra-dissolve-ny-ag-392270
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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