NRA Counter-Sues Anti-Trump NY AG Over Attempts to Dismantle Organization
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit on Thursday alleging fraud
The NRA is counter-suing the anti-Trump New York attorney general, accusing NY AG Letitia James of attempting to dismantle their organization in a "premeditated attack."
The National Rifle Association believes James is targeting them in the run-up to the November election due to their support for President Donald Trump.
AG James filed her lawsuit against the NRA on Thursday in New York.
Her suit claims that NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson 'Woody' Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer used the pro-Second Amendment org as a "personal piggy bank" for years.
James alleges in her lawsuit that they used NRA funds - built by donations from members - to pay for personal "trips."
She claims they used NRA money for "trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, and expensive meals."
James claims the organization diverted millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization, according to The Daily Mail.
At a press conference on Thursday morning, James declined to comment on speculation surrounding her subpoena to Deutsche Bank for Donald Trump's bank records, which many thought was going to be the subject of the press conference.
She also insisted the lawsuit was not politically motivated and not that she was trying to financially cripple the organization which is one of Trump's biggest donors.
The NRA responded angrily.
"This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend," the organization tweeted.
"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.
"Our members won't be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.
"As evidenced by the lawsuit filed by the NRA today against the NY AG, we not only will not shrink from this fight - we will confront it and prevail."
(1/3) NRA PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO NY AG:— NRA (@NRA) August 6, 2020
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...
(3/3) Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.— NRA (@NRA) August 6, 2020
As evidenced by the lawsuit filed by the NRA today against the NY AG, we not only will not shrink from this fight – we will confront it and prevail.
Its counter-suit claims that James is in bed with New York's Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo and that the pair have both been trying to destroy the organization for years because it furthers their political agendas.
"Democratic actors blamed the NRA for President Trump’s 2016 election victory, and were brainstorming ways that New York State could weaken the NRA as a political force in 2020," it claimed.
The NRA claims that it has carried out lengthy investigations over the last few years to ensure its operations were all above board.
In 2016, the organization gave more than $30million to Trump's campaign.
On Thursday, James said that an ongoing thread in her investigation was whether or not any mismanaged funds were used to donate to political campaigns.
She is now aggressively seeking restitution from the NRA.
She alleges that the fraud cost the organization $64million in losses.
Trump called James' lawsuit "terrible" and told the NRA to "move to Texas."
It is currently based in Virginia.
"That's a very terrible thing that just happened," Trump said on the White House lawn before boarding Marine One.
"I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.
"I've told them that for a long time.
"They should move to Texas or another state of their choosing but Texas would be a great place an appropriate place for the NRA.
"They've been absolutely decimated by the cost of that lawsuit and it's very sad but I would suggest they move to Texas," he said.
He later tweeted: "Just like Radical Left New York is trying to destroy the NRA, if Biden becomes President your GREAT SECOND AMENDMENT doesn’t have a chance.
"Your guns will be taken away, immediately and without notice. No police, no guns!"
At her press conference, James said the organization had gone "unchecked" for decades.
"The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets," she said.
"The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law."
"There is one set of laws," she said.
"Today, we send a loud message that no one is above the law - not even the NRA, one of the most powerful organizations in this country."
James is insisting that the organization be dissolved and not restructured because, she claims, the alleged fraud is so "broad."
The lawsuit claims that Wayne LaPierre hired his friends in the 1990s and then used NRA funds - which had been donated by supporters - to pay for a luxury lifestyle.
"Yacht trips in the Bahamas, private jets, gifts, black car services and lucrative consulting contracts for ex-employees and board members" are among the things she claims he spent the money on.
LaPierre approved private jet flights on the company dollar for his family members, including his niece's husband, the lawsuit claims.
It also alleges that he himself spent company donations on yachting trips to the Bahamas.
"Since June 2015, LaPierre and his family took private flights to and from the Bahamas on at least eight occasions.
"On most of those trips, LaPierre stopped in Nebraska on each leg of the trip to pick up and drop off his niece and her family.
"The NRA paid over half a million dollars for these flights," the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit has inflamed partisan tensions.
Democrats are praising the suit, claiming it was high time the NRA be brought to action.
Among those who praised it was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
He tweeted: "The NRA has a long history of thwarting New York’s not-for-profit rules.
"Today the NY AG took action to curb that abuse."