NEW YORK — The attorney general for New York, Letitia James, sued the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Thursday, seeking to dissolve the organization and put it out of business.
James is accusing the NRA of tax fraud, breaking laws governing nonprofit groups and other violations—including executives using the organization’s reserves for personal use.
“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 said in a statement when announcing the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. “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.”
James’ lawsuit also targets The NRA Foundation, a charitable arm of the organization self-proclaimed as “America’s Leading Charitable Organization in Support of the Shooting Sports.”
The foundation is known for its programs and grants promoting hunting/firearm safety, marksmanship and other elements of shooting sports.
The NRA responded to the lawsuit on Twitter, calling it a “baseless premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend… we not only will not shrink from this fight – we will confront it and prevail.”
The NRA has been registered in New York as a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit since 1871. As such, the organization is under James’ jurisdiction. (Though the charges James has presented are civil, not criminal, violations.)
James’ office confirmed it had been investigating the NRA in 2019 and it set the stage for the lawsuit submitted on Thursday. James has likened the NRA to a “terrorist organization” in the past.