NRA under fire: New York AG seeks to dissolve gun rights group

NEW YORK — Prosecutors in New York and Washington, D.C. have filed lawsuits to dissolve the NRA for misusing charitable donations.

Update 12:54 p.m. EDT Aug. 6: The NRA responded to the lawsuit Thursday afternoon.

“This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend,” the group said on social media. “Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.”

Original report: New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday to dissolve the NRA saying its leaders exploited the company for personal gain.

Later, Karl A. Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, filed a similar lawuit.

The lawsuit highlighted misspending and self-dealing allegations that have roiled the NRA and its longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, in recent years — from hair and makeup for his wife to a $17 million post-employment contract for himself.

James also called for the removal of LaPierre from its leadership post.

The troubles started to come to light as the NRA’s deficit piled up and it struggled to find its footing after a spate of mass shootings eroded support for its pro-gun agenda. The organization went from a nearly $28 million surplus in 2015 to a $36 million deficit in 2018.

LaPierre, who has been in charge of the NRA’s day-to-day operations since 1991, is accused of spending millions of dollars on private travel and personal security, accepting expensive gifts such as African safaris and use of a 107-foot yacht from vendors and setting himself up with a $17 million contract with the NRA, if he were to exit the organization, without board approval.

The lawsuit said LaPierre, 70, spent millions of the NRA’s dollars on travel consultants, including luxury black car services, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on private jet flights for himself and his family, including more than $500,000 on eight trips to the Bahamas over a three-year span.

Some of the NRA’s excess spending was kept secret, the lawsuit said, under an arrangement with the organization’s former advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen.

Check back for more on this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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