Attorney General James described a culture of corruption and greed at the NRA

New York’s attorney general has announced a lawsuit aimed at dissolving the powerful National Rifle Association over alleged financial mismanagement.

Letitia James said the NRA had diverted millions of dollars to leaders including its head, Wayne LaPierre, for their personal use.

“For these years of misconduct we are seeking an order to dissolve the NRA entirely,” she said.

The NRA described the lawsuit as a “baseless, premeditated attack”.

What did the Attorney General say?

Ms James said that the four named defendants – Mr LaPierre, Wilson Phillips, Joshua Powell and John Frazer “instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight at the NRA that was illegal, oppressive and fraudulent”.

The attorney general outlined a litany of charges against the defendants, but accused Mr LaPierre, long the face of the powerful gun lobby group, of being the “central figure” behind the organisation’s wrongdoings.

One example of misconduct alleged in the lawsuit states that Mr LaPierre visited the Bahamas more than eight times by private plane using funds intended for the NRA, for a total cost of $500,000 (£380,225).

The corruption “is so broad”, Ms James said, that total dissolution of the organisation is necessary.

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA
Wayne LaPierre nearly three decades as executive vice-president of the NRA

Responding to questions, Ms James, a Democrat, rejected the notion that the charges against the NRA – closely tied to the Republican party – were at all influenced by her own politics.

“We followed the facts and the law,” she said. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the NRA unfortunately was serving as a personal piggy bank to four individual defendants.”

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