New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, speaks during a news conference, to announce a suit to dissolve the National Rifle Association, In New York, U.S., August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday against the National Rifle Association, along with Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre and three other executives, seeking to disband the pro-gun lobby organization. The civil action lawsuit also seeks to remove the listed executives and would require them to pay tens of millions of dollars in restitution. James requested that the court ban the four defendants from having leadership positions in any New York charity in the future. The filing follows an 18-month investigation into the New York-based organization.

James accused the NRA of multiple violations, including false reporting on tax returns; improperly reporting expenses, wages, and income taxes; and overpaying employees for work that they were not qualified to do. Additionally, the Washington, D.C., Attorney General sued the NRA Foundation the same day for diverting funds from the charitable arm of the NRA to executives to fund “lavish spending.”

The organization filed its own countersuit on Thursday, claiming its First Amendment rights were violated. NRA President Carolyn Meadows said in a statement on Twitter, “This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.” Meadows continued in a second tweet, stating, “It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda.” President Donald Trump offered his support of the NRA after the announcement, saying the organization “should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.”

Anti-gun activists took to Twitter to celebrate the news. David Hogg, a co-founder of March for Our Lives, thanked James after waiting a year and a half since March for Our Lives filed a complaint with the office about the NRA’s use of funds. Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in 2018 lauded James for “this heroic action.” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts echoed a common sentiment on Twitter: “Thoughts and prayers today to the @NRA.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

New York AG sues to dissolve the NRA, alleging widespread fraud – Politico – 8/6/2020
It comes at an immensely precarious moment for the gun group. The NRA spent big to help President Donald Trump get elected in 2016, but now faces serious financial challenges — in part because of hefty legal bills. On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the NRA hard. It had to cancel its yearly meeting, which is usually a major fundraising event.

New York AG sues to dissolve NRA after probe – The Washington Times – 8/6/2020
NRA President Carolyn Meadows called Ms. James‘ lawsuit a “baseless, premeditated attack on the group” and a naked political move ahead of the November election. “It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda,” Ms. Meadows said. “This has been a power grab by a political opportunist — a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta. Our members won’t be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom.”

New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit to Dissolve NRA – Rolling Stone – 8/6/2020
LaPierre, the suit claims, hired the other executives “despite their lack of skills or experience for their respective roles and responsibilities” because he believed they would help him consolidate his power and “facilitate his misuse of charitable assets.” […] The filing said LaPierre has secured a $17-million post-employment contract for himself that was never approved by the NRA board and says LaPierre funneled personal income through a PR firm to skirt paying taxes on it. LaPierre also allegedly used upwards of $500,000 in NRA money to fund private charter flights to the Bahamas for him and his family, where they were “gifted the use of a 107-foot yacht” by an NRA vendor.

NRA fights back, files its own suit against NY attorney general seeking to disband organization – Fox News – 8/6/2020
The National Rifle Association is fighting back against a lawsuit filed Thursday by New York’s attorney general by submitting its own civil suit against state officials. The NRA’s lawsuit was filed federal court of New York and alleges Attorney General Letitia James “made the political prosecution of the NRA a central campaign theme” when she was running for the AG’s office in 2018, and has not treated the association fairly since. “Despite hopes that playing by the rules would procure a just outcome, the NRA has not been treated fairly by James’s office,” the 19-page suit states.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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