Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The NRA Saga Continues ... Wayne LaPierre Takes the Stand

In the continuing saga of everything not to do as a nonprofit organization, the trial of the NRA and some of its top executives is in full swing.

If you haven't been keeping track, in 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James brought suit against the NRA alleging correcption and misuse of assets under a variety of New York statutes, including "New York’s Estates, Powers & Trusts Laws; New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law; the New York Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act; and New York’s Executive Law." Around that time, we also found out that the NRA owed the IRS roughly $3.4 million in taxes and penalties as detailed more fully here, complete with commentary from Nonprofit Law Prof Blog's own Phil Hackney.  And of course,  as detailed in this NPR article, the NRA tried to file for bankruptcy, but it petition was dismissed on the basis that the" group had not filed the case in good faith" and was "using the bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem."

Late last week and into this week, Wayne LaPierre, now ex-CEO of the NRA (apparently, his resignation is effective today, accoring to the New York Times), took the stand in the New York law suit against the NRA and some of its top executives, including LaPierre.  In an interesting turn, LaPierre is ... sort of... testfying for the NRA.  And sort of... against... the NRA.   It's confusing for sure.  He's an individual defendent and the NRA is also a defendant as an organization.  According to the Times and other outlets, LaPierre admitted to poor management and personal use of NRA assets under the questioning of the NRA's lawyers (not the state's lawyers) in an effort to blame the organization's issues on LaPierre personally and not on the institution.   The organization is taking the position that subsequent changes to its expense reimburement plan and other governance reforms are sufficient to show that it shouldn't be liabile institution

New York can penalize the organization and can also ask for restitution to the organization from the executives that misued its assets.   The resulting blamefest is an interesting watch.    Having watched the rise of the NRA as a political force in the gun rights movement (see Matthew Lacombe's book, Firepower: How the NRA Turned Gun Owners into a Political Force), it is interesting to watch the once formidable organization fall from those heights.   It will be interesting to see what remains when all is said and done.

With popcorn, eww

Current Affairs, In the News, State – Judicial | Permalink


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