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Good News on the NRA

AP showed this “ A judge has rejected an effort by New York’s attorney general to put the National Rifle Association out of business, but will allow her lawsuit accusing top executives of illegally diverting tens of millions of dollars from the powerful gun advocacy organization to proceed.

Manhattan Judge Joel M. Cohen said allegations of NRA officials misspending on personal trips, no-show contracts and other questionable expenditures can be addressed by other remedies, such as fines and restitution, and do not warrant the “corporate death penalty” that Attorney General Letitia James had sought.”  on 3/2/22. 

It’s good news – I went for the life membership in NRA when I was shooting competitively, and it reduced range fees considerably.  Been a member a long time, and have been concerned that New York’s Attorney General could order the NRA shut down due to financial irregularities from Wayne LaPierre and others.  I have to admit – after reading about the financial accusations, I haven’t been anxious to respond to the letters with cash.

“In short, the complaint does not allege the type of public harm that is the legal linchpin for imposing the ‘corporate death penalty,’” Cohen’s decision reads. “Moreover, dissolving the NRA could impinge, at least indirectly, on the free speech and assembly rights of its millions of members.”

“The remedy of dissolution is, in the court’s view, disproportionate and not narrowly tailored to address the financial malfeasance alleged in the complaint, which is amply covered by the Attorney General’s other claims,” the decision reads.

In total, Cohen tossed four of the AG’s claims against the NRA. Still, 14 other claims may move forward, the decision said.” 

NY Post

AP’s article went on to describe the financial problems that form the basis of the remaining suits:

“LaPierre, the CEO who has been in charge of the NRA’s day-to-day operations since 1991, is accused in the lawsuit of spending millions on private travel and personal security and accepting expensive gifts — such as African safaris and use of a 107-foot (32-meter) yacht — from vendors.

He is also accused of setting himself up with a $17 million contract with the NRA if he were to exit the organization, spending NRA money on travel consultants, luxury car services, and 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. The advertising firm would pick up the tab for expenses for LaPierre and other NRA executives and then send a lump sum bill to the organization for “out-of-pocket expenses,” the lawsuit said.

Personally, the suit isn’t a problem if the organization is safe – if Wayne LaPierre is doing as the New York AG accuses, he needs to find some new pasture to graze.  Frankly, it is one of those things where even the appearance of misconduct is damning enough. 

Eric Hofer wrote:  “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”  Maybe the NRA can return to being a movement.

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