After teasing a “major” announcement Wednesday evening, on Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James, filed a civil lawsuit against four senior NRA executives and, in addition, rather dramatically seeks to dissolve the 149-year-old National Rifle Association altogether. The state lawsuit follows an 18-month investigation into the powerful gun rights group, finding financial misconduct in the millions of dollars that contributed to a loss of more than $64 million in the past three years. The named defendants in the suit are executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who has headed the organization for 30 years, general counsel John Frazer, former CFO Woody Phillips, and former chief of staff Joshua Powell. James further seeks that the court bar all four men from ever serving in a leadership position for a New York charity in the future.
James has broad oversight powers over the group because the NRA was formed under the not-for-profit laws of the state of New York. As such, the state attorney general is responsible for overseeing the activities of New York not-for-profit corporations and the conduct of their officers and directors. The 164-page complaint—which hits the NRA as it is roiled by internal conflict—closely follows the template of the suit brought by New York against the Trump Foundation in 2018. The complaint alleges that the group and its officers engaged in self-dealing and made false or misleading disclosures to the attorney general and the IRS, and that the officers breached their fiduciary duties to the NRA, wasted the NRA’s charitable assets, and caused false and materially misleading filings to be made in New York state.