Could NRA Members Intervene To Stop NY Suit To Dissolve The NRA?

The question here is, will NRA management's legal efforts defending themselves turn out to be in the best interests of the members? (National Rifle Association/Facebook)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- As widely reported, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit to dissolve the NRA filed on August 6.  The suit claims that NRA executives Wayne LaPierre, Wilson Phillips, Joshua Powell, and John Frazer used their positions for personal gain and otherwise misspent or misused NRA funds and resources.  The AG claims that she can bring the action because the NRA was incorporated in New York as a non-profit corporation.

While an eventual outcome of dissolving the association is thought by some legal analysts to be an overreach, AG James doesn't have to shut them down to have a devastating effect:

“This diverts NRA focus and resources away from the November election at a time when both are most needed if the Democrat agenda against the right to keep and bear arms is to be effectively politically opposed.”

We’re already seeing the effects of that.  “NRA’s political spending plunges as lawsuits, controversies hit,” Fox News reports. “The NRA’s most recent filings say it has spent less than $1 million in the 2020 cycle.”

With the Biden/Harris threat growing, this could not have come at a worse time for gun owners.

However, an Alabama lawyer who is also an NRA Life Member has suggested a legal procedure that could be used both to preserve the NRA's existence and to install new leadership if the New York AG proves her claims against the NRA executives.  George Douglas raised the alarm for the NRA's general membership in an “Action Memorandum”, pointing out that the individual NRA executive defendants had “obvious and irreconcilable” conflicts of interest:

“Regardless of whether the [attorney general's] claims are true, the individuals will be likely to put their own interests ahead of the corporation's, and therefore likely to agree [to] a settlement that absolves them of personal liability by using the corporation's assets to buy off the plaintiff.”

Douglas noted three possibilities if the suit goes forward as it is presently filed “and all of them are bad for the NRA and its membership.”  The first two possibilities are that either the New York AG or the NRA would win flat out, but Douglas said both of these are unlikely.  He said the most probable outcome would be that “The AG and the LaPierre defendants will cook up a settlement that allows both sides to declare victory but in actuality results in further damage to the NRA with both a diminution of its assets and a restriction on its activities while leaving the LaPierre group in control.

Douglas urged NRA members to intervene in the New York suit, both individually and as state or local associations.  He explained that intervention is a legal procedure allowing persons who aren't parties to a suit to “intervene” and participate in the litigation “when they would be adversely affected by a judgment but aren't adequately represented by the original parties.”  He suggested five “basic claims for intervention”:

  1. That the intervening NRA members will be adversely affected by a judgment in the action, and that they are not (and cannot) be adequately represented by either the NYAG or the individual defendants and their counsel due to their inherent conflicts of interest.
  2. That the NYAG does not have the legal authority to assert her claims against the NRA based on the alleged wrongs of its individual leadership, and that those claims (even if true) can only be properly brought by the NRA members.
  3. That the proper remedy for those wrongs, if they are proven, is not the dissolution of the NRA but recovery of the misspent funds from the individuals for the NRA as an entity, not for the NYAG or the State.
  4. That because of the inherent conflicts of interest between the individual defendants and the NRA as an entity, the NRA must have separate counsel who are not chosen by the individual defendants.
  5. That both the NYAG and the intervenors should therefore be allowed to proceed with proving the allegations against the individual defendants, and that if those are proven then the individual defendants should be removed from their positions and new leadership chosen by the NRA members should be put in place.

Douglas sent his memorandum out Thursday by email, with a request to “Please give this memo as wide a circulation as you can.  Don't assume that your circle of contacts will see it if you don't circulate it.” He appealed to the “true friends” of the NRA to intervene in the New York suit individually and on behalf of the general membership.

Not being admitted to practice law in New York, Douglas said he is not trying to solicit clients but to alert NRA members to this legal procedure, and stated that he’s “glad to help in any way I can with research, etc.”  Interviewed by AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, Douglas emphasized the urgent need for immediate NRA member action:

“It's very important that motions to intervene be made very soon, before this case begins to gain momentum.  The law requires “timely intervention” by interested parties and that means as soon as possible.”

Douglas also noted that the very first paragraph of the AG's complaint in the case says “…the NRA is legally required to serve the interests of its membership and advance its charitable mission”, adding “If the NRA executives actually did what the AG's complaint alleges, then it will be awfully hard for them to argue they were serving the interests of the NRA's membership and advancing its mission.”

Legal contacts I have don’t practice in New York either, so I present this on AmmoLand in the interest of giving exposure to a unique idea that appears to merit consideration. As such, if you are an NRA member who agrees this has potential, please pass Douglas’ Action Memorandum on to those within your sphere of influence, and especially to gun owner rights groups with significant numbers of NRA members and the resources to become intervenors.

(George Douglas contributed to this report.)


About David Codrea:David Codrea
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Tzone
Tzone
27 days ago

I dont under stand why you would want to save the NRA. The Suite is politically motivated but is parroting things gun owners have been criticizing the NRA for year about and are True. The NRA is also not pro 2a and is responsible for most of our gun control today. Even Current Republican Party of Texas Chair and elected board member of the NRA since 2016 LTC Allen West has called out the Cronyism and corruption of the NRA Leadership. Mainly LaPeirre. They were the ones who drafted and lobbied for most of the major gun control we have… Read more »

ezkl2230
ezkl2230
30 days ago

It seems to me that another avenue is open to members: force a member-driven initiative to dissolve the NRA and its board as it exists now, simultaneously reconstitute the organization in another state with a friendlier view on the Second Amendment, perhaps with a minor change to the name, with a new board, transferring its assets to the new organization. While I understand that there would be difficulties with this approach, it 1) deprives the NY AG of any perceived leverage she has, 2) it re-establishes the MEMBERS as the controllers of the organization.

Mack
Mack
1 month ago

I’ve finally read this now.

George Douglas has made an intriguing proposal that bears close attention.

I’m grateful that David brought this to our attention.

The ‘Winning Team’ has been guilty of malpractice for years, and Wayne has always been self-serving.

Of course he will cut a deal.

The real damages are to the members – time for for the guilty to held accountable.

Bones
Bones
1 month ago

I sent the link to Adam kraut to see what he has to say on what we can do.

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
1 month ago

All non profit organizations are at the mercy of any government entity which essentially can use any or all conditions of their charters against themselves. Politicians and bureaucrats know this and pretending to to be champions of society, exhibit the very self-serving for personal gain hypocrisy they accuse others of.
Hostile state and local governments are the very entities that threaten opposing views. This AG has plenty of corruption in her own house without attacking her pet peave.

Tex
Tex
1 month ago

Somewhere is AmmoLand there has to be a NY member or NY gun association that can organize what the Alabama lawyer is recommending! We need a class action suit by the MEMBERS against WLP and his cronies to take the NRA BACK, and to keep them from using NRA funds to pay for their defense! If the Alabama lawyer is right and we can find an honest judge in New York, then we should be able to prevail against the NY Attorney General too. There seems to be plenty of evidence based on the post JAIZ provided (thanks!) https://www.cfodive.com/news/NRA-financial-irregularities-lawsuit/583246/. Carping… Read more »

HoundDogDave
HoundDogDave
1 month ago

I had a quite similar call some 9 month ago.Just as soon as I said that I flat out refuse to make any more contributions until Lapierre and the current BoD where removed, the line went dead and I have not gotten a single call (or mailing requesting renewal/donations) since.

Darkman
Darkman
1 month ago
Reply to  HoundDogDave

I used one of their mailers that was asking for Life Members to contribute “To the Cause”. I wrote in Large Black letters on the return form. When WLP is gone and the BOD resigns. I will once again support the NRA with My Money. I too have not received any further correspondence from the NRA other than the 1st Freedom magazine each month. I only continue to be a Life member because I bought my membership decades ago as a 1 time payment.

Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago

There is another approach that should bring great waves of fury from that crooked wench Lettie James…. what we have here is a STATE suing a locallly incorporated non-profit. She is suing THAT legal entity. Fine, so far. BUT she has hamed multiple INDIVIDUAL defendants or respondants, almost NONE of whom LIVE inside the State of New York. Since they are not RESIDENTS of the State of New York they cannot be sued IN a state level court. If even ONE of her named respndants is not a resident of the State of New York SHE has NO AUTHORITY to… Read more »

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
1 month ago
Reply to  Tionico

Do you have any type of law degree? Last time I checked, someone’s residency has no bearing on jurisdiction. One can certainly be sued for breaking a state’s law as a non-resident if said law was broken in said state by said person! No, corporations can not freely break state law if their officers are non-residents!

Yes, NRA members have standing, if they ever wake up and do something about their organization! I have my doubts, though. The blind crowd will follow Wayne to the NRA’s death.

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago

IMO, it is a matter for the IRS if they violated any laws as a non-profit tax-exempt organization, not the State of New York.

Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryben Flynn

the new York nonprofit status would NOT enable members from across the nation to take advantage of NRW’s state tax exempt stauts for Federal tas purposes. They would have to also be filed with the IRA as a federal tax exempt orgnisation.

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryben Flynn

The NRA is clearly capable of breaking NY state law and federal tax law! Using a non-profit corporation as a front for personal enrichment does both! It violates the charter under which the company is incorporated in NY and it violates federal tax law.

KDad
KDad
1 month ago

New York AG Letitia James publicly called the NRA a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION ! That would mean the organization’s members were terrorists ! I am all for the members filing a DEFAMATION & LIBEL LAWSUIT against the AG ! Sue her as an individual and an officer of the state. Also sue the state for allowing her to make the defamatory claims as well. Hang them out to dry !

Jason
Jason
1 month ago

I left the NRA years ago when they continually supported democrats that kept stabbing the NRA Members in the back. I knew the leadership had been corrupted at that point. WLP supported corrupt politicians because he became corrupt. He learned from the best. Reid & No Name [JM]

Cruiser
Cruiser
1 month ago

I’d like to know how many working at the NRA, also belong to the Democrat party? The enemy within.
Shame on every Democrat who votes Democrat!

Dave in Fairfax
Editor
Dave in Fairfax
1 month ago
Reply to  Cruiser

Cruiser,

Didn’t you hear? Marion said that WE are the enemy within.

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
1 month ago

I have no idea what it would take for the NRA to move it’s non-profit registration to a mid-west gun friendly state but they need to get out of the anti-gun east coast.
Shut down the headquarters in Virginia and all operations in New York or any other east coast gun hater states that they have.
Find new leadership and retire WLP and other top banana’s who are in question.

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
1 month ago
Reply to  uncle dudley

Virginia is “gun friendly”. Yes, some bad legislation was passed, but the worst was not, and those that did pass were watered-down, some to the point of meaninglessness, such as the ERPO.

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
1 month ago
Reply to  uncle dudley

Moving a charter to a different state requires that state to accept the NRA’s filings for incorporation. It also requires a members’ meeting and the adoption of the new charter and bylaws by the members. Moving would also require the NRA to clear up its legal issues first. Fleeing the jurisdiction is not in the cards anymore for the NRA.  The NRA leadership has resisted for years to make that move, because it would have provided an opportunity to get rid of Wayne LaPierre. The NRA is all about Wayne LaPierre! Wayne LaPierre isn’t leaving voluntary and has constructed a… Read more »

StandWith Me
StandWith Me
1 month ago

Get rid of Pepe LePew and most of the problems are eliminated. Another good side effect would be the return of past NRA members who left because of the shenanigans of Pepe LePew.

The other Jim
The other Jim
1 month ago

Wow, getting real difficult to read these articles this past month. Continuous Pop-ups right in the literature from Palmetto State Armory, Brownells, Daniel Defense,…Even after it is “X” out the pop-up comes right back to cover the article being read again. Its like reading a book, and a fly keeps harassing you by buzzing around your face, landing on your hand/body, landing on the book; you keep trying to swat it with the fly-swatter but it only goes away for a few seconds only to return to harass you again and again.

Dubi Loo
Dubi Loo
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

@The other Jim, I use the BRAVE browser. I don’t get the irritating popups on Ammoland or most other sites. I have Brave on my desktop and my iPad, for me it’s the answer to kill the “flies.”

SEMPAI
SEMPAI
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

You sir are correct !! Getting out of hand these pop ups ,

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

Pop-up blockers work. I use the Mozilla browser and its pop-up blocker. I don’t get pop-ups.

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

Adblock Plus.

Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

I do not see that happening. I use Duck Duck Go, a non-guuuugul browser, and their popup blocker works quite well. Additional benefit. : you are no longsr supporting mocrosoft, google, etc. Dump them.

The other Jim
The other Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  Tionico

Tionico, which Browser do you use?

The other Jim
The other Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  Tionico

Ok, not a specific pop-up blocker, the engine is duckduckgo and it’s built in blocker.

Laddyboy
Laddyboy
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

@TOJ: You might want to try “AdGuard”. I find it stops MOST of the harassing advertising.

Grigori
Grigori
1 month ago
Reply to  The other Jim

Regardless of what browser we use for whatever reason, Ammoland should NOT be inflicting these annoying pop ups on us. Especially the page length one for whatever giveaway they are currently promoting. It is extreme disrespect for their readers they demonstrate by doing this.

Dave in Fairfax
Editor
Dave in Fairfax
1 month ago
Reply to  Grigori

Grigori, I’m sorry that you don’t like the pop-ups, especially the ones for free guns. I’d be delighted to get a free gun, but that’s just me. OTOH, bills have to be paid. I’m sure that if you’d like to make a tremendously generous donation something could be worked out for a certain amount of time. OK, I’m not sure, that would be up to the powers that be, but you get my point. It costs you nothing to use a pop-up or ad blocker and it certainly is not disrespectful to ask you to exercise that option. Please feel… Read more »

The other Jim
The other Jim
30 days ago
Reply to  The other Jim

Ok gentlemen, thanks. I have a lot of Blockers to try.

Larry
Larry
1 month ago

“With the Biden/Harris threat growing, this could not have come at a worse time for gun owners.”

That’s one way to look at it. Another is that if I had to choose a time for the NRA to be hobbled and unable to perform its usual brand of political advocacy, I couldn’t have chosen one better than now, with two of the weakest Democrat presidential opponents in American history, likely to crash and burn all on their own with no help needed from the NRA.

Last edited 1 month ago by Larry
Norm
Norm
1 month ago
Reply to  Larry

Exactly why the NYS AG chose this time to do her dirty deed. Pure politics at its very worst!

Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot
1 month ago
Reply to  Norm

Yet we predicted that move a year ago and warned the NRA Board that the NY AG would file for the NRA’s dissolution right before the election. The Board didn’t care! This is the result of pure ignorance and corruption by the Board that clearly put Wayne LaPierre’s interest over the interests of the members.

Knute
Knute
1 month ago

Wasn’t that the NRA meeting wherein a number of people asking questions were removed by security, told they could return later, and then when they returned, were told that it had been ‘canceled’, but was actually moved to a different room and held anyway?

Darkman
Darkman
1 month ago

The So Called 5 million members of the NRA acting together could stop anti 2A politicians. Their voting block carries more weight than the NRA ever has. Unfortunately this is as much a pipe dream as WLP resigning from his cushy cash cow position.

JIAZ
JIAZ
1 month ago

We don’t need Wayne’s NRA.

“Whistleblowers within the organization’s finance department helped shed light on practices targeted by a New York Attorney General’s lawsuit.”

https://www.cfodive.com/news/NRA-financial-irregularities-lawsuit/583246/