After Years of Denials, the NRA Fesses Up

Current and former executives have been abusing funds, the nonprofit says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2020 4:45 PM CST
NRA: Yeah, Our Execs Have Been Taking Money
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at the National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Looks like NRA execs really have been taking from the cookie jar. After years of denials, the National Rifle Association now admits that current and former executives—including current CEO Wayne LaPierre—recklessly used NRA funds for their personal enrichment, the Washington Post reports. According to a 2019 tax filing, LaPierre and five former executives took advantage by bloating their expense accounts or receiving excess salary. But the filing also says LaPierre has "corrected" his errors and returned nearly $300,000 in travel expenses. "This is the type of cleanup I would expect to see after a history of gross violations of nonprofit law," says a legal expert who argues that LaPierre is "putting himself on the line" and "trying to get in someone's good graces."

The tax filing didn't come out of nowhere. Last year, at a combative NRA annual meeting, board members and longtime staffers walked out amid claims that LaPierre and others had misused the nonprofit's dollars. Then earlier this year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit accusing the NRA of egregious financial abuses and saying it should be dissolved. The tax filing also accuses two departed officers, former board president Oliver North and former chief lobbyist Chris Cox, of enriching themselves at the NRA's expense. Meanwhile, NRA revenue is falling, legal costs and top executive salaries are rising, and the Wall Street Journal reported last month that the NRA is investigating LaPierre for possible criminal tax fraud. (More NRA stories.)

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