NRA Lawsuit Reveals Alleged Misappropriation of Funds in High-Stakes Trial

NEW YORK — The National Rifle Association (NRA) faced allegations of lavish spending and self-dealing as a civil trial began in New York. The trial, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2020, focuses on the organization’s leadership and alleged financial wrongdoing. Sarah Rogers, an NRA lawyer, acknowledged that some former executives and vendors may have betrayed the organization’s mission through inappropriate expenditures. However, she questioned why the NRA, as a victim, is being forced to defend itself in the case.

James accused the NRA, its longtime head Wayne LaPierre, and two other top executives of misusing millions of dollars raised from members’ dues. The attorney general seeks restitution but also the requirement that LaPierre and the others pay the organization back. LaPierre’s lawyer, P. Kent Correll, argued that his client had served the NRA “well and honorably” during his 44-year tenure, with expenses justified as crucial to promoting the organization’s gun rights agenda.

One of the key allegations against LaPierre is charging the NRA over $11 million for private jet flights. Correll argued that due to death threats, the charter flights were necessary for LaPierre’s security. Other accusations include accepting lavish gifts from NRA business partners and routing expenses through vendors to avoid scrutiny.

The trial is expected to feature testimony from LaPierre and former NRA president Lt. Col. Oliver North, who previously clashed with LaPierre. Additionally, Joshua Powell, an ex-NRA executive turned whistleblower, settled with James’ office and agreed to testify, paying $100,000 to the NRA. James aims to appoint an independent monitor to oversee the organization’s finances and ban LaPierre and the other defendants from leading any charities operating in New York.

In light of the trial, LaPierre submitted his resignation to the NRA board due to his battle with chronic Lyme disease. The organization’s lawyers stated that there are no post-employment agreements or arrangements with LaPierre. The trial will provide evidence of any deviations from the rules set by the board, highlighting the actions of individuals in question.

The outcome of the trial will determine whether the NRA faces restitution and further consequences for alleged financial improprieties committed by its former executives and outside vendors. The trial serves as a critical examination of the NRA’s leadership and finances.