Sharon Kennedy: Letitia James and the NRA Sharon Kennedy 

Gun Rights

Letitia James, attorney general of New York, is one busy lady. If readers have been paying attention to some of the mopping up she’s been doing, they know she’s not just busy, she’s also tough as leather.

In 2020, her office took on three senior executives of the NRA, chartered in New York, and won a case against them. The National Rifle Association, that once-proud and well-respected organization, came under legal scrutiny due to the mismanagement of funds by Wayne LaPierre, Woody Phillips and John Frazer. LaPierre, the former executive vice president and his cronies were found liable for damages to the NRA totaling $6.3 million.

Because so much attention has been focused on James’ fraud case against DJT, the NRA verdict received scant notice. Anyone other than relatives of Rip VanWinkle are aware of the hot water the Trump Organization landed in, but LaPierre’s disgraceful exit from the post he held for 33 years was almost unreported. The jury found that violation of New York laws regarding the proper administration of charitable NRA funds caused his humiliating downfall.

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In a February press release, James said, “This verdict is a major victory for the people of New York and our efforts to stop the corruption and greed at the NRA. For years LaPierre used charitable donations to fund his lavish lifestyle, spending millions on luxury travel, designer clothes, insider contracts and various perks for himself and his family. He and other senior leaders blatantly abused their positions and broke the law, but today, after years of rampant corruption and self-dealing, LaPierre and the NRA are finally being held accountable. We will not hesitate to pursue justice against any individual or organization that violates our laws or our trust no matter how powerful they are.”

This should put to rest the accusations that James was out to “get” DJT for personal reasons. Apparently, she’s more interested in cleaning up what he calls a “lawless ghost town” and an “anarchist [radical] jurisdiction.” It seems to me that when wealthy people or corporations are caught with their hands in the cookie jars, they yell “foul” and thumb their collective noses at the legal system.

They seem to believe they’re entitled to extraordinary leniency or absolute dismissal of lawsuits brought against them and are outraged when they don’t get what they want. That’s when the realization not all judges can be bought or bribed comes as a shock to them, especially if the judge was appointed by their respective political parties. Apparently, the modern way is to bow to the wishes of wealthy defendants regardless of evidence proving obvious and deliberate corruption.

The press release revealed that, “Over the course of a six-week trial, the Office of the Attorney General presented evidence revealing the extent of the NRA and its senior leaders’ violations of New York laws and misuse of NRA funds. Efforts to have the case dismissed were denied, as was their attempt to file for bankruptcy to avoid accountability by trying to reorganize in Texas. The Texas bankruptcy court’s denial decision was based on the fact that the NRA did not file their petition in good faith.”

The NRA was founded in 1871 to advance rifle marksmanship and teach firearm safety and competency. Unfortunately, like so many other organizations, it fell under the influence of lobbyists who are trying to convince the public that Democrats want to take away your Second Amendment rights. This is false. And despite LaPierre’s removal, the NRA escaped the “corporate death penalty,” so to speak, and is battered but not beaten by Ms. James.

— To contact Sharon Kennedy, send her an email at sharonkennedy1947@gmail.com. Kennedy’s new book, “View from the SideRoad: A Collection of Upper Peninsula Stories,” is available from her or Amazon. 

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