NRA Scores Legal Victory in Dispute with DC Attorney General

Gun Rights

Claims Against NRA Dismissed – No Fines, Penalties or Relief Against NRA Following DCAG Lawsuit

Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) has announced a legal victory in a high-profile governance matter brought by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (DCAG).

Filed by the DCAG on August 6, 2020, in obvious coordination with a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General in New York, the suit alleged that the NRA misused tens of millions of dollars of NRA Foundation funds. In response, the NRA challenged the claims as politically motivated and stated that it acted appropriately at all times. 

On April 16, 2024, the NRA and NRA Foundation entered into a consent order, whereby the DCAG dismisses all claims against the NRA. The order contains no adverse finding against the NRA and no allegations regarding the use of funds of the NRA Foundation. There are no fines or penalties whatsoever against the NRA.

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Discovery proved that all funds received from the NRA Foundation were applied exclusively in furtherance of its charitable programs and that there was no misuse of funds.

“This is further proof of the NRA’s commitment to good governance,” says NRA President Charles Cotton. “The NRA confronted this political attack – and emerges from this lawsuit strong, secure, and vindicated. The NRA and NRA Foundation are fully committed to pursuing their world-class firearms education, training, and safety programs.”

The NRA Foundation supports a wide range of public programs focused on firearms safety and training, law enforcement education, hunter safety, and youth. Its Eddie Eagle GunSafe program has taught gun safety to more than 32 million children.

The NRA will continue to administer the NRA Foundation’s programs.

The order in no way limits the NRA Foundation’s ability to amend its articles, bylaws, or other organizational documents.

“This outcome is a resounding win for the NRA and for the NRA Foundation, too. Both remain positioned to meet their respective goals and mission,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The result should bring an abrupt end to allegations against NRA board leadership. The resolution also supports the NRA Foundation as it pursues the highest of ethical and organizational standards – so donors can give with confidence, as always.”

Responding to the DCAG

The DCAG wasted little time in pedaling a false narrative about the settlement. NRA attorneys summed up statements from DCAG Brian Schwalb in two words: distorted and untruthful.

“The statements falsely say the DCAG lawsuit filed in August 2020 caused the NRA to repay loans to the NRA Foundation,” says Brewer. “The commitment to repay the final loan in question came in January 2020. The DCAG ‘spins’ the settlement in avoidance of the facts:  the DCAG long ago abandoned any claims of wrongdoing against the NRA. Even by DC standards, this is rank political gamesmanship – an after-the-fact justification for a failed lawsuit by these officials.

FACT: The DCAG’s statement that the NRA used NRA Foundation funds for an “unchecked piggy bank” is contradicted by the public record, the settlement agreement, and the DCAG’s own experts. See Plaintiff’s Response to NRA’s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts dated July 7, 2023, at p. 14 (admitting that it is “[u]ndisputed” that “[n]either of the District’s experts opined that the NRA did anything wrong or illegal.”).

FACT:  The settlement contains NO findings or admissions the NRA Foundation misused funds, or that its monies did not support its charitable programs.

FACT:  The NRA utilized NRA Foundation grants and loans for proper purposes and acted appropriately at all times. The District never even alleged – much less proved – that the NRA ever violated the Nonprofit Corporations Act. 

FACT:  The NRA executed an agreement to repay the NRA Foundation for a final fair-market loan in January 2020 – months before the DCAG filed its lawsuit.

FACT: Although the District in its lawsuit sought extraordinary remedies, such as a constructive trust, long-term monitorship, and substantial revisions to its Bylaws, the District abandoned these remedies because the facts did not support them.

FACT:  In the face of these facts, the DCAG settled its lawsuit – abandoning all claims against the NRA and NRA Foundation.

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