New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association, she announced Thursday.
“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.”
About 30 minutes after James' announcement, Trump told reporters at the White House, according to the pool report, that the lawsuit is "a terrible thing," He added that the group had been “decimated” by the costs of recent legal actions and that it was a “sad” situation.
And the NRA is fighting back by submitting its own civil suit against state officials.
The NRA’s 19-page lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York and alleges 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 group 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 lawsuit reads. “The New York Democratic Party political machine seeks to harass, defund, and dismantle the NRA because of what it believes and what it says.”
NRA President Carolyn Meadows added in a separate statement, "This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend," she said. "You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle. It's a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda. 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."
A press release from James' office reads, "James charges the organization with illegal conduct because of their diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty."
The release continues, "The suit specifically charges the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson 'Woody' Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA."