New York’s famously anti-Trump Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday that she is suing the NRA, claiming its former leadership mismanaged funds to fund their own lavish lifestyles.
James claims that 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 NRA as a ‘personal piggy bank’ for years.
She claims in her lawsuit that they used NRA funds to pay for ‘trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, and expensive meals.’
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 with a counter lawsuit, claiming they were being unfairly targeted for their political tendencies.
In 2016, the organization gave more than $30million to Trumps’ 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. I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday that she was suing the NRA
President Trump with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the target of the lawsuit who she claims mismanaged funds for years to support his lavish lifestyle
NRA General Counsel John Frazer (L) and Director of Operations Joshua Powell (R) are also being sued
‘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 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 on the White House lawn before boarding Marine One.
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. 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,’ she said.
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.
The NRA responded angrily with its own lawsuit, claiming James is unfairly targeting the organization because of its political affiliations
Among them was a private flight for his niece and her husband from Dallas, Texas, to North Platte, Nebraska that cost $11,435.
Later, he authorized a flight for his niece and her daughter from Dallas to Orlando for $26,995.
In October 2016, he approved a flight for his wife to go alone from Wisconsin to Nebraskafor $8,800 and in January 2017, he authorized a flight for his niece’s husband from Nebraska to Las Vegas for a Safari Club convention.
His reasons for them included that it was difficult to find commercial flights to parts of Nebraska, and that his niece sometimes had a young child with her, the lawsuit claims.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was among Democrats who endorsed the move
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.
LaPierre claimed he was going to the Bahamas for a ‘celebrity retreat’ that was run by ‘an individual’ who is the major stakeholder in Associated Television Inc, Membership Marketing Partners, Allegiance Creative Group, Concord Social and Public Relations.
The lawsuit claims the NRA gave $100million to those companies, and LaPierre worked with them to produce projects like Crime Strike, a TV show he was the host of. The lawsuit has inflamed partisan tensions.
Democrats say welcomed it, 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.’