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The New York Times: New York’s Attorney General Deepens its Investigation into the NRA, Issues New Subpoena

According to a new report by the New York Times, New York State Attorney General Letitia James has issued a new document subpoena to the National Rifle Association, furthering her eight-month investigation into the organization. The Times reports that the subpoena was filed last week and “covers at least four areas, including campaign finance, payments made to board members and tax compliance.” 

The issuance of this new subpoena is the latest in a series of legal blows to the NRA and its affiliated entities. In addition to Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation, the NRA is under investigation for suspected violations of nonprofit law by DC Attorney General Karl Racine, and also faces regulatory scrutiny over its “Carry Guard” insurance product. Additionally, the organization is locked in various lawsuits with its former ad firm, Ackerman McQueen

The Times’ piece by Danny Hakim, which can be read in full here, reports that the subpoena seeks: 

  • Records relating to transfers between the NRA and its controlled entities, including the NRA Foundation. A previous investigation by the New York Times revealed that the NRA Foundation had transferred more than $200 million to the NRA between 2010 and 2017.
  • Communications relating to the NRA’s relationship with two political consulting firms, Starboard Strategic and OnMessage. This follows reporting by The Trace questioning the NRA’s relationship with Starboard Strategic and an F.E.C complaint filed by Giffords, which, as reported by The New York Times, alleged that “the N.R.A. had paid millions to Starboard as a way to direct money to Republican candidates advised by OnMessage, circumventing laws restricting how much groups like the N.R.A. can donate to political campaigns.” 
  • Documents relating to the NRA’s filings with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission.

The Times’ story comes on the heels of months of national and local reporting about allegations of financial mismanagement and self-dealing at the NRA. In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that the NRA board had retroactively approved transactions that allegedly benefited insiders. In August, the Washington Post reported that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre “sought to have the nonprofit organization buy him a luxury mansion” after the Parkland shooting. And in April, then-NRA president Oliver North reportedly sent a letter to the board of directors alleging that LaPierre spent more than $200,000 on clothing. All told, 18 unpaid members of the NRA’s board have reportedly collected millions of dollars in aggregate from the organization through side dealings in the past three years alone––despite reports that the NRA has run a deficit for three straight years.