BREAKING: Wayne LaPierre May Have Made One Or Twelve Little Ooopsies On His Taxes
Karma's a bitch, and so is Wayne LaPierre.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the NRA frontman is under investigation by the IRS for criminal tax fraud after failing to report all those bazillions of dollars of benefits on his tax returns. You love to see it!
In August, when New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil suit against the NRA for misappropriating $64 million in charitable dollars, she noted that the organization's failure to disclose millions of dollars worth of clothing, airfare, and housing provided to LaPierre on his W-2 "permitted him to file false personal tax returns with the IRS."
Just to be real clear about that one, if your employer provides you with certain "perks" unrelated to your job, like, say, a gym membership, you have to declare the value of those little extras as income and pay tax on them. But Wayne LaPierre got a whole lot more than a Planet Fitness key fob out of his employer.
There were the private jets to the Bahamas for LaPierre and his family, which he justified as a "benefit" to the charity because both his wife and his niece were on the NRA payroll, so "any time I get the two of them together anywhere, there is a benefit for the NRA."
(Hint, Mrs. LaP might have a little tax oopsie of her own assuming the cost of those flights wasn't on her W2 either.)
In fact, as the WSJ reported last year, LaPierre and his family liked to take a lot of trips on the charity's dime.
They included a trip to Italy and Budapest in 2014, where the listed expenses included $6,500 for lodging at the Four Seasons hotel; $2,400 for a stay at the luxury Castadiva Resort on Italy's Lake Como; $17,550 for "Air Charter" between Budapest and the Italian city of Brescia; and nearly $18,300 for a car and driver in both countries.
And when they traveled, they liked to look sharp! Hence $540,000 worth of clothing paid for by the NRA and the hair and makeup artists flow in to keep the Missus glammed up.
Sadly, there was no $5 million faux chateau on a manmade lake outside Dallas. But we really must bring it up here, because it's the most ongepotchket thing we've seen in our lives, and it never fails to make us roar with laughter. But if that deal had gone through, it would have been routed through the charity's ad company Ackerman McQueen like everything else, keeping it off the charity's books and marking it as a "media" expense. Convenient!
And that kind of convenience doesn't usually happen by accident. Which is probably why LaPierre is facing criminal rather than civil penalties. According to the Journal, this isn't a civil audit — i.e., they're not treating him like someone who screwed up his return and needs to square up and pay back the money. This is a criminal investigation, meaning they think he may have deliberately concealed the payments from Uncle Sam.
Now, in normal circumstances, it might be difficult to prove that LaPierre knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud the government. But these are not normal circumstances, and not just because these people are too goddamn stupid to do crimes without leaving a paper trail. The NRA and Ackerman McQueen have been in a trench war for a year and half, with the media company threatening to spill all the details of LaPierre's greasy double dipping. And if Ackerman and the NRA were partners in this scheme to keep all those expenses off the NRA's books — and off the CEO's tax return — then Ackerman has every incentive to get out in front of this thing to limit their own liability.
So, cheers to that! Take 'em all down, IRS man. (But no rush, we understand you might have to wait until January 21 to get the ball rolling.) Womp, and also, now that we think about it, womp.
With that freude in your schade, it's your OPEN THREAD!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.