New York Attorney General Launches Investigation Into NRA's Tax-Exempt Status

New York Attorney General Letitia James started an investigation into the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) finances and its not-for-profit status on April 26. James sent letters to the NRA and the organization’s affiliated entities requesting that each save relevant financial records for an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the NRA, The New York Times reported. In a statement to the Associated Press, spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said related businesses and the NRA’s charitable foundation were also given subpoenas.

The organization’s lawyer, William A. Brewer III, confirmed the probe in a statement to The Times and said the gun rights organization is cooperating with the investigation. “The N.R.A. is prepared for this, and has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance,” Brewer said. James previously said she wanted to investigate the not-for-profit status of the NRA if elected attorney general, The New York Daily News reported.

“I will use the constitutional power as an attorney general to regulate charities, that includes the NRA, to investigate their legitimacy,” James said during a July press conference in New York City. The NRA currently operates an office in New York and that permits the attorney general to affirm whether the tax-exempt group adheres to the laws governing not-for-profit organizations in the state. During an interview with Ebony magazine in October, James called out the gun rights organization. “The NRA holds [itself] out as a charitable organization, but in fact, [it] really [is] a terrorist organization,” she told the magazine.

Following the launch of the investigation, the NRA President Oliver North announced on April 27 that he would not run for reelection during the organization’s convention in Indianapolis, USA Today reported. In a letter read by the NRA’s First Vice President Richard Childress, North stated that CEO Wayne LaPierre was trying to push him out.

“I've been on the NRA board for more than two decades," North wrote. "It was a great privilege to serve as your president this past year, an honor second to only serving our country as a US Marine in combat. So if you ever need me in the future, just call me. I will come. Semper Fi."

On April 29, President Donald Trump blamed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and James for coming after the guns rights organization. The president claimed the investigation is “illegal.”

“The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State AG, who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, and others,” Trump tweeted. “It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS — FAST!”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.