A court order is being sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association "in its entirety" after "years of fraud and misconduct" on the part of CEO Wayne LaPierre and other top leaders because the "rot runs deep," and an investigation is ongoing about if there will be criminal charges sought as well, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Friday.
"It's pervasive," James told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It's all throughout the corporation, throughout the 76-member committee. It is also in the audit committee, the compensation committee. The committee failed to assure fiscal, standard fiscal controls were in place."
The committees, she added, did not respond to whistleblowers who complained about the misappropriation, sought to conceal concerns from external auditors and did not review potential conflicts.
James said that full restitution is being sought from LaPierre, the NRA's former treasurer and chief financial officer Wilson Phillips, its former chief of staff and executive director of general operations Joshua Powell, and its corporate secretary and general counsel John Frazer for "funds they unlawfully profited from and the excessive salaries they concerned while employees and to pay penalties."
Her office also wants the officials removed from their leadership roles and banned from serving on the board for any other charity in New York state.
At this point, the case is still seeking civil damages, but if there is any criminal activity uncovered, that will be referred to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, she added.
James, who first announced the case against the NRA and its leaders Thursday, told MSNBC that LaPierre and the three others "basically pilfered and looted the NRA" to the point that it is operating at a deficit.
She also insisted that the state's lawsuit has nothing to do with politics, even though the NRA is a key endorser of President Donald Trump and Republican candidates.
"We file lawsuits when we conclude our investigations and we analyze and apply the law," she said. "We don't look at the political calendar to determine when we should or not file a lawsuit."
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