The National Rifle Association went into its annual meeting this weekend grappling with detailed accusations of massive financial wrongdoing by top executives. Then came the announcement that New York State Attorney General Letitia James has opened an investigation into the non-profit gun group.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation focuses partly on allegations of self-dealing by the group’s executives. A person familiar with the matter told the newspaper that James’ office is looking into “related-party transactions between the NRA and its board members; unauthorized political activity; and potentially false or misleading disclosures in regulatory filings.”
NRA executives expect a “dissolution action” to emerge from the probe, the story says.
The NRA faces internal turmoil in part because of its relationship with Oklahoma ad firm Ackerman McQueen, the non-profit’s image-maker and close partner since the early 1980s. The NRA recently sued Ackerman for allegedly over-billing for its services — a practice that multiple former NRA executives told TPM extended back decades.
The Journal cites NRA outside counsel William A. Brewer III as telling board members in January that he expects James, a Democrat, to “pursue a dissolution action against the NRA.”
Brewer’s father-in-law is Angus McQueen, a top Ackerman executive.
The NRA has been chartered in New York State since its 1871 founding as a postbellum marksmanship club.
“It was very crazy for them to keep the charter in New York; I think they should have moved the charter decades ago,” gun rights activist Jeff Knox told TPM last week.
New York regulators slammed 10 insurance firms with fines in December 2018 for underwriting an NRA insurance policy called “Carry Guard,” which covers legal fees for people who claim self-defense in shooting incidents. Critics derided the program as “murder insurance.”