Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association, alleging fraud against the organization by senior executives. James said in the suit that Wayne LaPierre, Wilson Phillips, Joshua Powell, and John Frazer misused their nonprofit’s funds for years. But just as soon as the suit was filed the NRA countersued, saying they are being unfairly targeted just months before a crucial presidential election.
James, who is anti-Trump and anti-firearms, said in the suit that more than half a million dollars was used to fly LaPierre, Phillips, Powell, and Frazer to and from the Bahamas, and that the NRA is used as their “personal piggy bank.” She continued that this lawsuit is not political, and instead, is because of their use of funds for private jets, expensive meals, and expensive vacations for them and their families, causing $64 million dollars in losses.
But the NRA is fighting back. In a statement, they made their position abundantly clear, writing, “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 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.”
James said mismanaged funds were also used for political campaigns. The NRA gave $30 million to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, and is a very important endorsement for his base. Currently, they are actively working to help President Trump’s reelection efforts. President Trump commented on the lawsuit, calling it a baseless political attack. On Twitter, he linked the lawsuit to his opponent, writing, “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!” Trump said the lawsuit is “terrible,” and told the NRA to move to Texas.
Why this matters: This political attack may just be what Trump needs to revitalize his campaign. As second amendment enthusiasts are worried a Democrat president will take their guns, it is one of their main election concerns. A lawsuit just months away from the election will help get out the vote, and will most likely increase the support for the NRA nationwide.
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