Democratic New York State Attorney General Letitia James has begun an investigation into the National Rifle Association.
James’s office has told the NRA, its affiliates and some of its related businesses to preserve financial records, The New York Times reported.
The Times reported that the NRA, which was aware an investigation was coming, has reviewed operations of its contractors but that the advertising firm of Ackerman McQueen has not complied with the NRA’s requests.
“As part of this investigation, the Attorney General has issued subpoenas,” a spokesperson told CNN. “We will not have further comment at this time.”
New York’s attorney general is uniquely positioned to investigate the NRA because the organization is chartered in New York State and her office has authority to regulate not-for-profit groups.
Prior to her election last year, James trashed the NRA in an interview with Ebony.
“The NRA holds [itself] out as a charitable organization, but in fact, [it] really [is] a terrorist organization,” she said then.
“The NRA will fully cooperate with any inquiry into its finances. The NRA is prepared for this, and has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance,” William A. Brewer III, the NRA’s outside counsel, said in a statement Saturday.
“The current situation,” North wrote to NRA members, means the NRA’s “non-profit status is threatened,” NPR reported.
In its report on the investigation, the Times reported that the NRA is suing Ackerman, and that North, as an Ackerman employee, was siding with the contractor against the NRA.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said James is simply following up on a campaign promise to attack his organization.
“She vowed to conduct a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to investigate us in the state where we were founded 148 years ago,” LaPierre said, according to The Washington Times. “The governor’s chosen candidate for attorney general vowed to attack the NRA as a pillar of her campaign platform even before she was elected into office.”
During the NRA’s convention on Saturday, LaPierre referenced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying that he “hates the NRA and he hates our freedom.”
The NRA is also facing a fight from the anti-gun rights group Everytown for Gun Safety, which filed a complaint to the IRS about the NRA’s tax-exempt status after reports that executives or contractors were receiving inordinate sums of money.
“In light of the recent, credible allegations of excessive invoicing and personal enrichment by insiders, it’s encouraging that the New York Attorney General is looking into the NRA, and we renew our call for other state and federal authorities to do the same,” Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said.
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