Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New York Attorney General Files Suit to Dismantle the NRA

Health + Wellness
New York Attorney General Files Suit to Dismantle the NRA
The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.


The lawsuit specifically names the organization's top brass as corrupt and inept, accusing them of failing to follow numerous state and federal laws and mismanaging the organization so badly that it lost more than $64 million in just three years, according to a press release from James' office. James alleges that CEO Wayne LaPierre and his top lieutenants used the organization's coffers for personal gain, as The Washington Post reported.

The overwhelming influence the NRA has had on American politics has enabled gun violence to proliferate into a public health crisis, according to the American Public Health Association. Furthermore, the ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. As the University of Pennsylvania notes, contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and even mercury, all of which can sink into the soil and sometimes leach into groundwater and surface water. Exposure to these contaminants through the soil or water can lead to illness and possibly death for those who spend significant amounts of time in contaminated areas.

According to NPR, the maneuver to dissolve the NRA is the most aggressive sanction James could have sought against the organization, which she has jurisdiction over because has been registered as a 501(c) not-for-profit organization in New York asince 1871.

James has a wide range of authorities relating to nonprofits in the state, including the authority to force organizations to cease operations or dissolve.

"The NRA's influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets," James said in a statement. "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."

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA who received millions in salary, also used the organization's money to fund an extravagant lifestyle. The suit alleges that LaPierre used NRA money to pay a personal travel consultant $13.5 million, largely on no-bid contracts. Private flights were chartered for LaPierre's wife and his niece. He took frequent trips to the Bahamas on the NRA's dime, where he often stayed on a 108-foot yacht called "Illusions" that was owned by an NRA contractor and included a chef and four staterooms. He bought gifts from Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman from his inner circle, and once put his niece up at a Four Seasons hotel for eight nights at a cost of more than $12,000, according to the complaint, as The New York Times reported.

"Given the breadth and depth of the corruption, the illegality and the brazen attempts to evade the law," said James, according to NBC News, it is necessary for the NRA to shut its doors to protect members and donors.

James said the suit would be forwarded to the IRS for investigation of potential violations of tax law, according to NBC News.

"If we uncover any criminal activity, we will refer it to the Manhattan district attorney," she said. "At this point in time, we're moving forward, again, with civil enforcement."

Also Thursday, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine sued the NRA and the NRA Foundation, its charitable arm, which is incorporated in Washington, DC, as NBC News reported. The lawsuit alleges that the NRA misused charitable funds "to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives," and seeks the return of money that it says was donated to the NRA Foundation but was improperly diverted to the NRA.

"Charitable organizations function as public trusts — and District law requires them to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests," Racine said, as NPR reported. "With this lawsuit, we aim to recover donated funds that the NRA Foundation wasted. District nonprofits should be on notice that the Office of the Attorney General will file suit if we find evidence of illegal behavior."

A group of climate activists that have been cycling from the North of the country in stages to draw attention to the climate case are arriving to the Court of Justice on the day that the climate lawsuit against Shell starts in The Hague, on December 1st, 2020. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Representing more than 17,000 claimants who support climate action, the international organization Friends of the Earth on Tuesday opened its case against fossil fuel giant Shell at The Hague by demanding that a judge order the corporation to significantly reduce its carbon emissions in the next decade.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Eat Just, Inc. announced that its cultured chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites. The company has developed other cultured chicken formats as well. Eat Just

As concern mounts over the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, Singapore has issued the world's first regulatory approval for lab-grown meat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wildfires are seen burning out of control on November 30, 2020 on Fraser Island, Australia. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services / Getty Images

The world's largest sand island has been on fire for the past six weeks due to a campfire, and Australia's firefighters have yet to prevent flames from destroying the fragile ecosystem.

Read More Show Less
A plane sprays pesticide over the Wynwood neighborhood in the hope of controlling and reducing the number of mosquitos, some of which may be capable of spreading the Zika virus on Aug. 6, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A national nonprofit revealed Tuesday that testing commissioned by the group as well as separate analysis conducted by Massachusetts officials show samples of an aerially sprayed pesticide used by the commonwealth and at least 25 other states to control mosquito-borne illnesses contain toxic substances that critics call "forever chemicals."

Read More Show Less
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plants a tree as part of Trees That Count, a project to help New Zealand make a positive impact on climate change, on June 30, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

The government of New Zealand declared a climate emergency on Wednesday, a symbolic step recognizing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions of substantial global warming if emissions do not fall.

Read More Show Less