NRA admits current and former execs abused funds amid IRS probe

'Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants skirted the law and pocketed millions from NRA coffers,' says Letitia James.

The National Rifle Association has admitted that current and former executives used the nonprofit organization’s money for “personal benefit and enrichment.”

The admission came four months after New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the organization, alleging that NRA executives used funds to inflate their salaries and expense accounts.

Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association vice president and chief executive officer, is shown at the 2019 NRA annual meeting of members in Indianapolis. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“For years, Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants skirted the law and pocketed millions from NRA coffers to fund lavish lifestyles that included private jets, pricey vacations, expensive meals, and no-show contracts,” James said this week. “Mr. LaPierre’s reimbursement of just a fraction of the millions he personally profited from indicates how the NRA went unchecked under his leadership.”

The Washington Post obtained a copy of the tax return which explicitly stated the NRA “became aware during 2019 of a significant diversion of its assets.” It says NRA’s chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, and five other executives received “excess benefits,” which is the term the Internal Revenue Service uses to describe when an executive enriches themself at the expense of a nonprofit.

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The National Rifle Association is a massive lobbying entity. During the 2016 election, it spent more than $30 million to help elect President Donald Trump and spent nearly half that amount in 2020’s race.

The organization also spent upwards of $38 million in legal fees last year both defending itself and filing suits that challenge gun laws.

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LaPierre has the helmed the gun right’s group since 1991, although some members have called for him to step down.

“LaPierre would have stepped aside a long time ago if his concern was really for the institution,” Rob Pincus, a lifetime NRA member, told The Post. “He remains a distraction and a detraction.”

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LaPierre’s personal finances are also under investigation by the IRS.

NRA officials maintain that while its finances are under audit, it is using “best practices” in accounting and governance.

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