Newly released tax returns show the NRA has been using donations to fund the lavish personal lifestyles of Wayne LaPierre or other executives. If true, the IRS should act on Brady’s petition to revoke the NRA’s tax-exempt status.
Washington, D.C., November 25, 2020 – Following reporting by The Washington Post that the National Rifle Association has acknowledged on its latest tax filing that current and former leadership misused NRA resources for their personal benefit. The filing makes clear what we already know: NRA President Wayne LaPierre and his top officers use the organization as their personal piggybank to fuel their lavish lifestyles while they ignore calls for basic protections supported by their members like expanding Brady background checks. It is against this backdrop that Brady reiterates its call to dissolve the NRA.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“Wayne LaPierre and his top lieutenants at the NRA betrayed donors and violated the law by misusing organizational funds for travel, fancy clothes and perks for their relatives.
We knew about their malfeasance for some time, but thanks to growing litigation stemming from their gross mismanagement, they have finally had to admit to the IRS that they violated federal rules in misappropriating funds for their own benefit. They should be humiliated and ashamed for misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for their own personal gain.
Brady first called for an investigation into the NRA’s malpractices in 2019, and was joined by 150,000 Americans demanding that the Internal Revenue Service revoke the organization’s tax-exempt status. In August 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of New York seeking to dissolve the NRA in its entirety, describing it as ‘a breeding ground for greed, abuse, and brazen illegality.’ Just last month, the IRS opened an investigation into NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre for his actions at the NRA.
This is just the latest proof that the NRA has cheated its members and American taxpayers in pursuit of an extremist agenda that has made our country markedly less safe. Greed and corruption are indefensible, but when it comes at the cost of obstructing action on gun violence that claims 40,000 American lives a year, it is unconscionable. It is beyond time to dissolve the NRA and hold its leaders accountable for their corruption.”
The majority of Americans support stronger gun laws that are proven to prevent gun violence. But the NRA has stopped such life-saving legislation from passing in Congress and in state legislatures across the country. In 2019, they spent $1.6 million lobbying Congress against passing gun safety legislation. They spent $30 million to elect Donald Trump in 2016. To date, Mitch McConnell has pocketed $1.2 million in NRA campaign contributions. All the while, 100 people die of gun violence in America every day. It is not hyperbole to say that these executives are padding their pockets while Americans die.
About Corruption at the NRA:
For years, there have been clear signs and explicit statements by former NRA employees indicating that NRA leadership has abused their positions and their authority as fiscal stewards of the organization in violation of its 501c3 tax-exempt status. These include in-depth statements made by Joshua L. Powell this fall. Powell previously served as chief of staff to LaPierre and detailed that LaPierre routinely abused his position and misused NRA funds for his personal benefit and comfort. In October 2019 Brady filed a complaint with the IRS seeking an examination into, and ultimately a revocation of, the NRA’s tax-exempt status. To date, this petition has received over 150,000 signatures.
About Lawsuits Against the NRA:
On August 6, 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of New York that includes 18 causes of action against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and four of its senior officers, current and former, for fraud, malfeasance, false filings and abuse of the NRA’s tax-exempt status, among other charges. AG James’ action seeks to dissolve the organization in its entirety, following its rampant and wanton misfilings and false reporting. On the same day, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed suit against the NRA Foundation and the NRA for misusing donations to benefit the NRA’s executives. That suit seeks a return of misused funds and court-mandated alterations to the NRA Foundation to ensure it operates in compliance with its charitable purpose.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.