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NRA Sues NY Attorney General For Defamation In Attempt To Dissolve Organization

Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday, just hours after she filed a civil suit to dismantle the nation’s largest gun rights organization.

The NRA’s lawsuit accused James of defamation and violating the organization’s right to free speech, FOX News reported.

The lawsuit said that the attorney general had “made the political prosecution of the NRA a central campaign theme” and alleged the group wasn’t being treated fairly because she was attempting to fulfill campaign promises.

“Despite hopes that playing by the rules would procure a just outcome, the NRA has not been treated fairly by James’s office,” the lawsuit said. “The New York Democratic Party political machine seeks to harass, defund, and dismantle the NRA because of what it believes and what it says.”

The group’s defamation claim surrounded James’ publicly calling the NRA a “criminal enterprise” and “a terrorist organization,” FOX News reported.

“James boasted that she would strike foul blows against the NRA and pound the NRA into submission. She vowed that she would use the NYAG’s investigative and enforcement powers for the precise purpose of stanching political speech (‘deadly propaganda),” the NRA alleged in their lawsuit. “She has begun to deliver on her campaign promises to retaliate against the NRA for constitutionally protected speech on issues that James opposes. As NYAG, James has regrettably succumbed to ‘individual passions, and individual malevolence.’”

James’ lawsuit filed against the NRA on Aug. 6 seeks to do away with the gun right advocacy group because of what she alleged were “years of illegal self-dealings” that bankrolled a “lavish lifestyle” for the group’s leadership, NBC News reported.

The attorney general told reporters at a press conference after it was filed that the NRA had diverted “millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, 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 NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law,” she said, according to NBC News.

Although the organization is headquartered in Fairfax County, Virginia, it is chartered as a not-for-profit organization in New York, giving James investigative authority.

The NRA is the most powerful gun lobby group in the United States and has endorsed President Donald Trump for re-election, NBC News reported.

President Trump slammed James’ lawsuit against the NRA and suggested the organization should relocate to Texas, FOX News reported.

“I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life,” the President said. “And I’ve told them that for a long time. I think they should move to Texas – Texas would be a great state or to another state of their choosing – but I would say that Texas would be a great place and an appropriate place for the NRA.”

The complaint named the organization’s long-time chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, and three other NRA executives.

James said Wilson “Woody” Phillips, a former treasurer and chief financial officer, Joshua Powell, a former chief of staff and the executive director of general operations, and John Frazer, the corporate secretary and general counsel, are named in the complaint, NBC News reported.

They are accused of having failed to abide by state and federal law in the management of the NRA’s funds.

James said the men allegedly contributed to the NRA losing more than $64 million in three years, NBC News reported.

The investigation into the NRA’s not-for-profit status began in April of 2019, launched by the new attorney general to fulfill her campaign promise.

The attorney general’s lawsuit called for LaPierre and the other named executives to repay NRA membership for their inflated salaries and improperly used group funds, The Washington Post reported.

James has alleged that the four men diverted the millions of dollars away from the organization’s mission to illegally benefit themselves and their friends.

NRA attorneys have called the lawsuit by James a purely political move, NBC News reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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