Wayne LaPierre. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.
Why it matters: The NRA is the most powerful gun lobby in the country and receives a huge amount in donations each year, but New York's investigation claims that CEO Wayne LePierre and other top leaders undermined the organization's mission for their own personal benefit.
- "The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets," James said in a statement.
- The NRA has operated in New York since 1871. The suit charges the organization as a whole, in addition to four top executives, including LaPierre.
- D.C.'s attorney general also simultaneously filed a similar lawsuit against the organization's foundation.
What they're saying: When asked by reporters Thursday why New York's attorney general office is in favor of dissolving the NRA instead of targeting specific people in the organization, James said: "Because the corruption was so broad. And because of the level of waste. And because they have basically destroyed all of the assets of the operation."
- President Trump told reporters in response to the news: "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. And I’ve told them that for a long time … this has been going on for a long time, they’ve been absolutely decimated by the cost of that lawsuit."
The other side: The NRA vowed to fight back against the lawsuit in a series on tweets on Thursday, stating, "This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend. You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle."
- "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."