Featured Goodbye NRA? New York and D.C. Team Up to Dissolve the Giant Forrest Cooper August 6, 2020 23 Comments, Join the Conversation On Thursday, August 6th, 2020, a pair of lawsuits were leveled at the NRA, seeking to put the organization out of business, accusing it of playing foul with its money. The New York Attorney General went after the National Rifle Association for allegedly funneling funds to pay for the lavish living of top executives, while claiming large losses across the fiscal year. Simultaneously, after a year long investigation, the Washington D.C Attorney General accused the NRA Foundation of using donations to attempt to help pay for luxurious lifestyles and keep the parent company afloat. With both charges landing at the same time, it looks like this move was part of a coordinated strategy to dissolve the NRA. Four people are named directly, CEO Wayne LaPierre, a former chief of staff Joshua Powell, John Frazer, their corporate secretary, and Woody Phillips, who formerly acted as treasurer and CFO. While most reporting is centered around LaPierre due to his public profile, all four are implicated in the misuse of non-profit funds. The latest investigations are heavily centered around the actions of Wayne LaPierre. However the effects of the lawsuit will be felt by over five million members of the NRA. THE ARGUMENT The crux of the arguments against the NRA pivots on the use of donations to pay for private jets, vacations, and other luxurious expenses, which were allegedly concealed in secretive fiscal practices. When the organization went from reporting a roughly $28 million surplus in 2015, only to claim a $36 million deficit in 2018, it sent red flags for some, and opened them up for political attacks when the leadership didn't appear to be affected by the losses. The claim of mismanaged funds was paired with an allegation that the NRA Foundation, which serves as a charitable conduit of the organization, made loans and bailed out the bad behavior of the leadership. The charges list examples of $500,000 spent on eight trips to the Bahamas, and the transfer of funds from the Foundation to the NRA in the form of at least $10 million in loans that received extensions upon request. The NRA has already begun organizing a counter-suit against the New York AG, and this is expected to produce a long legal battle. Both sides are already accusing each other of using this situation for political gain. Although none of the four men have been charged with a crime, the civil lawsuits are seeking hefty fines, barring LaPierre from non-profit boards in New York, and to either overtly dissolve the NRA or make it fiscally untenable. CONSPICUOUS TIMING In the political climate of 2020, attacks against the NRA quickly get lost in the noise. However this case began as a campaign promise of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who likened the NRA to a terrorist organization. The NRA and the Second Amendment itself share common ground, as both face threats on social and legal fronts from those who no longer hide their intentions. Despite its long history, the NRA cannot make the mistake of believing it is too big to fail, or lean too heavily on its political relationships. While it’s argued that the loss of funding and popularity of the NRA has come about as a result of the politicization of mass murders, distrust for the organization over their past position on the Assault Weapons Ban and their readiness to abandon bump stocks has drawn the ire of more than just political opponents. While the NRA takes pride in its long heritage, others think that they are a little long in the tooth, and no longer represent the rights of gun ownership in America. With the massive spike in gun sales across the country, one would expect that the NRA should be seeing an increase in membership as 2020 fails to be boring. At the same time, considering the upcoming election, the timing of the lawsuit certainly raises suspicion of being more than an investigation for the sake of justice – tying up the funds of an organization pivotal to the re-election of President Trump three months before the election is sure to raise eyebrows. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has already stated that the lawsuit is an attack on the over five million members of the NRA. As Americans, we must remain vigilant, standing firm through the Second Amendment. Attacks leveled at the NRA are not overtly threats to the Second Amendment itself, however they reveal the motives of those who might move against the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Its a fight we cannot afford to loose. 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