The New York attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association (NRA) seeking to have the nearly 150-year-old organization dissolved. In the lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan on Thursday after an 18-month investigation Attorney General Letitia James alleged that the chief executive of the NRA and several top lieutenants engaged in a decades-long pattern of corruption and fraud.
"The NRA's influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets," James in a statement, according to the release and as reported by ABC News. "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."
Accusing the NRA of "illegal conduct," the lawsuit, The Hill reports, states that the organization instituted "a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight." James alleges that the NRA diverted millions "from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership." This money allegedly went towards "awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no- show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty." The suit says it also went towards "personal use, including trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, expensive meals, and other private travel."
The suit names NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and John Frazier, Woody Phillips, and Joshua Powell, all of whom are NRA executives, whom James claims "failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the NRA." James is calling for LaPierre to be removed as CEO and requests that all four men be barred from serving in leadership positions for New York City charities in the future, according to the Washington Post. She is also calling to see the NRA "shuttering its doors" for good.
James' investigation into the NRA began in February of 2019. At this time, the NRA has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the recently filed lawsuit. In the past, the organization has dismissed concerns regarding financial mismanagement and has defended its spending and contract choices.
"The NRA has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance," William Brewer, NRA outside counsel, said in a statement last year. "The association's financials are audited and its tax filings are verified by one of the most reputable firms in the world. Internally, the association has an appropriate conflict of interest policy, which provides that all potential conflicts are reviewed and scrutinized by the audit committee."