A longtime National Rifle Association donor has filed a proposed class actionpro seagainst the organization and CEO Wayne LaPierre over the allegedly fraudulent misuse of donations “for purposes unrelated to the NRA’s core mission.”
The lawsuit out of Tennessee says that the plaintiff until recently had pledged to give 75 percent of his estate to the NRA and its subsidiaries upon his death. Over the last four years, the man has also given roughly $100,000 to the gun rights group and the NRA Foundation in the form of cash donations and gifts in kind, according to the suit. The plaintiff argues that although the NRA pledged in its solicitations of donations to use the money for gun safety education, the promotion of shooting sports and hunter safety, wildlife conservation, and the protection of gun ownership rights in the United States, the group—and LaPierre in particular—have instead put it toward costly monthly legal expenses, private jet travel, clothing and other impermissible expenditures.
The timeline laid out in the lawsuit starts when Lt. Col. Oliver North became the NRA president. North, the suit says, learned of “possible material financial misconduct” upon stepping into the role, which he held from September 2018 through April 2019. According to the suit, North first learned that the NRA was paying its outside legal counsel “about $2 million per month,” an expense that was allegedly never properly authorized nor documented by the counsel’s Texas law firm. North, the lawsuit continues, then learned the NRA “paid roughly $20 million” to the attorney from April 2018 through March 2019.
On April 17, 2019, North became aware of the allegations presented in a report from theNew Yorkerabout theapparent mismanagement of NRA funds, the lawsuit says. Shortly after the publication of theNew Yorker’sreport, the case continues, North then learned of allegations that LaPierre, over a number of years, “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in clothing, private jet travel, and other personal benefits” paid for by an NRA vendor. None of these benefits were noted in LaPierre’s stated compensation on his IRS Form 990, according to the plaintiff.
The lawsuit goes on to state that each time North raised concerns internally with regard to possible financial misconduct, his “efforts were thwarted by Defendant LaPierre” and the NRA’s outside counsel. What’s more, North, as the case tells it, was retaliated against for his attempts to look into the NRA’s finances and was eventually “forced out of the office of President” when he came up for re-nomination in April 2019.
“Ultimately, LaPierre managed to shut down North’s Crisis Management Committee,” the complaint says. “As of this date, there has been no independent investigation of the NRA’s spending.
The lawsuit looks to certify a class of individuals nationwide who have donated funds to the NRA and/or the NRA Foundation at any time between January 1, 2015 and the present.