Barring a surprise settlement, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against the National Rifle Association is likely to result in a lengthy fight in state court, The Trace reports. The NRA within hours filed a counter action in federal court that describes James’s complaint as part of a coordinated effort by New York officials to destroy the NRA. James, alleging widespread corruption and self-enrichment by NRA leaders, seeks to dissolve the gun rights organization. James details an array of misconduct by its chief executive Wayne LaPierre, general counsel John Frazer, former chief operating officer Joshua Powell, and former treasurer Woody Phillips.
“The NRA, at the direction of the individual defendants and with a series of failures of required oversight by its board, has persistently engaged in illegal and unauthorized activities in the conduct and transaction of its business,” the complaint says. “Defendants abdicated all responsibility for ensuring that the NRA’s assets were managed prudently and in good faith.” James said the group “has operated as a breeding ground for greed, abuse, and brazen illegality.” Her complaint “outlines dozens of examples” and alleges that the defendants “used millions upon millions of dollars from the NRA for personal use, including for lavish trips for themselves and their families, private jets, expensive meals, and other private travel.” “It’s really very serious,” said James Fishman of Pace University School of Law, an expert in nonprofit governance. “LaPierre should be updating his resume.” Fishman expects to see a settlement and says dissolution of the NRA is unlikely. Rob Pincus, an NRA member and spokesman for Save the Second, which has sought change at the gun group and criticized its leadership, said, “It is tragic that the New York AG’s Office is having to step in and clean up the NRA.”