Fraud in the NRA: New York Attorney General Sues to Dissolve Organization and Collect Restitution

Branden Janese
Aug 6, 2020 - 7:01

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We are witnessing one of the first fallen bricks from a crumbling and corrupt empire.  

Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York, held a news conference this morning to announce that she has filed a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the basis of findings from an 18-month investigation into the organization’s financial crimes. 

The four named defendants: Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and CFO Woody Phillips, former Chief of Staff Joshua Powell and Corporate Secretary John Frazer are accused of using millions of dollars from the NRA  for their personal use, including: excess compensation, luxury travel and gifts for their families and friends, which according to AG James is “illegal and corrupt.” She is seeking an order to dissolve the NRA  in its entirety, to require full restitution from the four named defendants and to ensure none of them will be able to report on the board of any other New York charitable organization.

AG James lists a handful of the 18 causes of actions that violated the law, here:

This lawsuit is history in the making. The fire has been set to one of the most powerful organizations in America, yet all I can think about is: “how well protected is the sister who is carrying the torch?” 

Listening to James confidently, courageously and clearly detail the gross negligence and fraud by the hands of the NRA puts fear in my heart. She is a brilliant Black woman with the power to shake shit up and demand ultimate justice from the most powerful white men in this country. A part of me thinks that these white men are simply too serious about their racism to allow a Black woman to punish them for their crimes. A part of me is terrified that these white men are extra invested in beating AG James’s office in court because she is a brilliant Black woman. A part of me is rooting for James, a part of me is praying for her safety. 

She has been called the “thorn in Donald Trump’s side” after she sued the administration over twenty times last year. She has a demeanor that means business and an attitude that is so controlled and patient that the go-to “angry Black woman” trope just won’t work on her. The sister is bad. The idea that I am afraid that she might win at taking down these corporate looters is ludacris. It’s a clear cut indicator of my own internalized fear of stepping up to the white man. 

One story in particular comes to mind. Around three years ago, I worked as a waitress at a restaurant in the West Village. On a cold winter night, a customer who was visiting New York from somewhere in Germany flagged me down. He was over forty years old and sitting with two American men at the table. I approached him to see what he needed and he asked me where I was from. I said, “Michigan.” He then asked me with the glee of an eager child on Christmas Day if I had known if my grandparents were owned by the grandparents of his two American dinner companions. I just shook my head and walked away. 

No one came to save me. The men were still welcomed to order and be served their dinner. No justice was served. Thinking about it today, I have a “W.W.J.D” or “What Would James Do?” moment on it. The depth of the disrespect was indescribable. Is it finally time for regular Black girls to start serving James style justice to these lawless and immoral white men, or are we doomed to a forever beatable status under the reign of white supremacy?

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