New York Sues To Put NRA Out Of Our Misery
The NRA is in deep shit, ya'll. And we are so here for it!
This morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James dropped a massive lawsuit seeking to dissolve the gunhumpers lobby for doing allllll the self-dealing and violating laws governing public charities.
From the jump the NYAG comes out with guns blazing:
For nearly three decades, Wayne LaPierre has served as the chief executive officer of the NRA and has exploited the organization for his financial benefit, and the benefit of a close circle of NRA staff, board members, and vendors. Contrary to his statutory duties of care, loyalty and obedience to the mission of the charity, LaPierre has undertaken a series of actions to consolidate his position; to exploit that position for his personal benefit and that of his family; to continue, by use of a secret "poison pill contract," his employment even after removal and ensuring NRA income for life; and to intimidate, punish, and expel anyone at a senior level who raised concerns about his conduct. The effect has been to divert millions of dollars away from the charitable mission, imposing substantial reductions in its expenditures for core program services, including gun safety, education, training, member services and public affairs.
Which is no surprise to readers of this here recipe and mommyblog, since we've been covering the fallout from the NRA's legal trench war with its longtime media partner Ackerman McQueen for over a year now. We already knew about the tackyass fake chateau the NRA tried to buy for LaPierre, the credit card he used to route all his expenses through Ackerman and keep them off the charity's books, and the tens of thousands of dollars the "charity" forked over for Susan LaPierre's hair and makeup expenses.
We know exactly why the case names former NRA chief of staff Josh Powell, former chief financial officer Wilson Phillips, and former general counsel John Frazer — who greenlighted this bonanza of corruption — along with Ol' Wayne as co-defendants in this case. And if the NYAG wins, those fellas are going to have to dig deep into their own pockets, since New York law imposes restitution of "up to double the value of each benefit improperly bestowed by such transactions." You love to see it!
We'll give you the lawsplainer you deserve tomorrow after we dig deep down into the nitty-gritty of this 169-page behemoth. But the short version is that public charities can't do business with their own board members — AKA a "related party transaction" — and their officers are legally obligated to use donor money appropriately and account for it transparently in their annual disclosures.
But just to give you a taste, let's talk about Wayne LaPierre's travel agent. The NRA's own policies require all travel arrangements to be routed through the organization's travel office, unless LaPierre signed off. They also call for expenses over $100,000 to be run by the NRA's board which ... LOL, that's more of a suggestion, yaknow?
According to the complaint, since the 1990s, "LaPierre has booked his travel through a travel consultant based in Woodland Hills, CA. The travel consultant bills the NRA through two companies: Inventive Incentive & Insurance Services Inc. and GS2 Enterprises." And indeed, they were quite inventive with their incentives!
In 2014, the travel consultant billed the NRA $15,000 per month to book LaPierre's travel. Very occasionally the consultant did work for another NRA executive, but almost all of that $15,000 was to book flights for the NRA's president.
But how can anyone live on such a paltry sum, you are asking?
Don't worry, in 2015 that monthly fee was raised to $19,000.
Was there a written contract? There was not!
But wait, there's more! Because between February 2013 and July 2018, Ackerman McQueen was also forking over $4,000 to the inventive travel agents, and passing the bills on to the NRA. And for those of you doing the math, that would be $276,000 a year. Which seems like A LOT.
Then when things went sideways with Ackerman last year, that $4,000/month dried up. So to make up the shortfall — and then some — the NRA entered into a contract with the world's most expensive flight booker to increase her annual pay to $318,000. Which they justified by saying that they 100 percent needed a dedicated travel agent to ensure LaPierre's safety in these troubling times.
In an accompanying business case analysis, it provides that "[f]or the security of our principals, in this sensitive environment we sometimes face, we believe there is no other company that can provide the service and discretion that [LaPierre's Travel Consultant] offers." There is no evidence that the NRA considered bids from competing companies.
By 2020, though, when shit started to hit the fan and AG James was hot on their trail, the NRA decided that maybe they ought to put the process out to competitive bidding after all. At which point, the very same travel booker put in a bid to do the very same work for $7,000 per month. Naturally, her bid was accepted.
Let's let the Empire State's attorney do the math for us:
From August 2014 to January 2020, the NRA paid LaPierre's Travel Consultant more than $13.5 million. In 2018, the NRA paid LaPierre's Travel Consultant $2,630,531.71. In the first six months of 2019 alone, the NRA paid LaPierre's Travel Consultant $1,007,597.80.
Somehow — somehow — that is considerably more than $276,000 per year. From the PUBLIC. FUCKING. CHARITY. (Pure slackjawed speculation, we can only figure that pays for some private jets. It MUST, right? RIGHT?)
Okay, we're going to go take lots of deep breaths and come back tomorrow to lawsplain it all for you. But anyway ... the nerve of these assholes!
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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.