After an 18-month investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association seeking to dissolve the nation’s largest gun rights group. Supporters of the NRA immediately criticized the move as unfair and nakedly partisan — a liberal Democrat going after a conservative group that supports President Donald Trump just three months before the election. But there is damning detail to the allegations of fraud and financial abuse. The Washington Post editorial board questions whether dissolution is the right penalty, even if the charges are proved in court. But contributors who thought their funds were being used to promote gun-owner rights should, more than anyone, welcome this chance for accountability.
According to the 164-page civil suit filed Thursday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, longtime NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and three other current or former NRA leaders misused charitable funds for their own personal gain, including on lavish travel, excessive expenses, and contracts benefiting relatives and close associates. The suit characterized “a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight” that contributed to the organization’s loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period, in violation of state nonprofit laws.