Jun 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

NRA drops lawsuit, will defend against NY attorney general's corruption claims

Photo of a person speaking from the stage at a conference with crowds of people and the NRA projected on a screen

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, speaks during the NRA's annual meeting in Indianapolis in 2019. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it will defend itself against New York Attorney General Letitia James' attempt to dissolve the organization and dropped its countersuit in federal court.

Why it matters: The move comes after a federal judge in Texas tossed out the gun rights group's bankruptcy case in January, calling it an effort to avoid litigation by James' office, according to CNN.

  • "In the process, the NRA had made clear it sought to escape regulatory oversight in New York," the Washington Post writes.
  • The NRA also dropped its countersuit to block James' efforts on Friday.

Catch up quick: Last August, James sued the NRA over alleged corruption. She accused the group of diverting millions of dollars to NRA officials, including Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, who has led the group for three decades.

  • James alleges that failure to manage the NRA's funds has led to the loss of more than $64 million in three years. She is also seeking to oust LaPierre.
  • The NRA claims that James is violating its free speech rights. Dropping the federal lawsuit will ensure the NRA's arguments are heard in the same state court in Manhattan that will oversee James' suit, per the Post.

What they're saying: "The NRA dropping its countersuit today in federal court is an implicit admission that their strategy would never prevail," James said in a statement. "The truth is that Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants used the NRA as a breeding ground for personal gain and a lavish lifestyle."

  • "[O]ur fight for transparency and accountability will continue because no one is above the law."

The other side: Friday's move "will ensure that the NRA's claims proceed promptly to discovery and a full vindication of its members' rights," NRA lawyer William Brewer said in a statement to Reuters.

Go deeper