Trump: The NRA Should Move to Texas After New York Lawsuit

Date: 2020-08-06 16:38:19

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Trump, responding to news that New York is seeking to dissolve the NRA, says:

“The #NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.”

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New York is seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association as the state attorney general accused the gun rights group and four senior officials of engaging in a massive fraud against donors.

A sprawling lawsuit filed Thursday by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges the NRA diverted charitable donations for years to enrich the organization’s top executives in violation of laws governing nonprofits. James also is demanding millions of dollars in restitution and penalties.

The case may pose one of the biggest legal threats the NRA has faced since its founding in New York in 1871. The turmoil began with a power struggle last year between former NRA president Oliver North and longtime leader Wayne LaPierre, which led to allegations of self dealing. A subsequent state probe found wrongdoing blamed for more than $64 million in losses in the last three years alone, James said.

“We are seeking an order to dissolve the NRA in its entirety,” James said at a press conference in Manhattan. The organization for years has been “operating as a breeding ground for greed, abuse and brazen illegality,” she said.

The lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan cites the “NRA’s pattern of conducting its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner, abusing its powers contrary to public policy of New York and its tax exempt status, and failing to provide for the proper administration of its trust assets and institutional funds.”

William Brewer, a lawyer who has been representing the NRA in litigation related to today’s lawsuit, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

This isn’t the first high-profile charity James has targeted. Donald Trump paid $2 million in damages last year after his charitable foundation reached a settlement with the attorney general, who accused the president and his children of rampantly violating nonprofit rules. Their alleged infractions included using foundation money to buy sports memorabilia, Champagne and a portrait of Trump. The president shuttered the charity and denied wrongdoing.

At the White House on Thursday, the president assailed the lawsuit as a “very terrible thing” and urged the group to move to Texas. “It would be a great place for the NRA,” Trump said.

New York said in a statement that its investigation uncovered an array of wrongdoing, including the awarding of lucrative deals to family members and close associates and the awarding of “no show” contracts to former employees to “buy their silence and continued loyalty.”

North, who was interviewed by state investigators, had accused LaPierre of using the NRA to enrich himself. LaPierre denied the accusation, and North was ousted as the organization’s president.

The NRA has previously claimed that North plotted with its former ad agency, Ackerman McQueen Inc., to smear LaPierre by leaking details of his spending. North and Ackerman denied the claims. The NRA has also accused James of trying to circumvent the organization’s legal rights by demanding information about its members as part of a “political witch hunt.”

North’s allegations weren’t just sour grapes, according to James. LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, is accused in the lawsuit of exploiting the organization for years, squandering donations on extravagant personal expenses.

James alleges LaPierre spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of NRA funds for private plane trips for himself and his family, visited the Bahamas eight times in the last three years at a cost of nearly half a million dollars. He spent millions more on “unwarranted travel expenses” such as luxury black-car services, racking up more than $3 million in the last two years, James said.

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