At the N.R.A., a Cash Machine Sputtering

As the gun rights group lavished pay and perks on its leaders and partners, fueling infighting, it increasingly relied on its own charity for funds. Tax experts have questions.

Comments: 191

  1. If some progressive "tax exempt" organization had engaged in this kind of behavior they would have been put out of business long ago.

  2. @Don Indeed, the IRS targeted the NAACP’s tax exempt status in 2005-2006 for a relatively minor issue: Julian Bond publicly criticizing President Bush. The NAACP was ultimately cleared, but the prosecution struck many of us as politically motivated. What the NRA has been doing for years is much worse.

  3. @Don ACORN didn’t have to, all they did was encourage people to vote.

  4. Foundations are being investigated all over the place because they are continually abused by their officers for lining their own pockets or doing something different than what they are permitted to do. The NY AG has already brought down the phony Trump Foundation . Apparently the NRA is no different. Perhaps money for buying political clout will become limited so sensible gun regulations can be implemented without blocking ones constitutional right to bear arms.

  5. These people have blood on their hands. And now they’re lining their pockets.

  6. These financial practices are clear and major violations and should be prosecuted. I am grateful to the state of NY for going after this, and I am disappointed that the IRS has neglected to act for decades. Many advocacy non-profits have two separately incorporated parts: a 501c4, which can lobby, and a 501c3 (often called a “foundation “), which cannot lobby. Donations to the c4 are not tax deductible, while donations to the c3 are deductible. The c4 part of the organization share its money freely with the c3. But it is a major violation of the public trust for the c3 to share money with the c4 unless it is a loan that is well documented and paid back. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have successfully navigated this for decades. It can work well if the organization is structured to keep its activities above board and has a competent annual audit. The NRA’s lavish spending is also a massive violation of the public trust. Wayne LaPierre is paid more than the president of Harvard and more than the mayor of any major city. And his “expenses” are obviously outlandish. It is disturbing and I am saddened that it has been allowed to go on for so long.

  7. @Cousy "I am disappointed that the IRS has neglected to act for decades." Of course, you do understand that the IRS budget has been shrinking. Right? https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/business/yourtaxes/at-the-irs-trying-to-collect-more-with-less.html?searchResultPosition=1 "With declines like that, it should be no surprise that the number of audits has dropped and that revenue resulting from audits plummeted $7 billion, or roughly 40 percent, in the three years through 2013." The Koch's know where to spend their money! https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/13/opinion/campaign-stops/the-republican-partys-50-state-solution.html?searchResultPosition=1

  8. This exposé shows that our Attorney General was the right choice. Letitia James has stepped forward to investigate and expose corruption within one of the most powerful groups in the nation. Under the guise of protecting the nation, thousands have died because of NRA actions that make America one of the countries with the most accidents and murders by those who obtain assault rifles.

  9. @ABL The US holds the record for the 2nd most gun deaths of any country in the world. Just behind Brazil.

  10. @ABL Maybe Letitia James will be the one with the right way finally investigate the NRA and send the criminals to prison and to bankrupt the organization.

  11. The financial foundation of the NRA is weakening. Their moral foundation crumbled years ago. A surfeit of arrogance and money is so often the ruin of mankind's political edifices. Reading about the death throes of the NRA will be the first really good news one has seen for some time.

  12. The blatant corruption of the NRA, exposed when their finances were investigated, gives plenty of ammunition to the effort to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns and the Trump Organization’s financial records. There’s no doubt in my mind we would see mind-boggling accounting practices and jaw-dropping financial irregularities. The NRA is a con and so is the world of Trump. Talk about fake news. They got it.

  13. @Pietro Allar Let's all not forget the real source of NRA money. Russian oligarchs. The money they poured into the 2016 election- by way of NRA PAC and Foundation, is the easiest and most direct way to influence an election. 30 million dollars buys a lot of advertising. Republicans benefit (from attack ads on opponents), RW media benefits- by way of ad dollars. NRA benefits by being conduit for dark money. Treasonous. And always cheered on by our GOP friends.

  14. The entire Non-Profit Organization has turned into one big tax scam. The heads of these organizations are enriching themselves with bonuses and salaries and not paying a dime in taxes. On top of that the organizations and individuals who donate do not pay taxes either. Talk about a tax-loophole that if closed could give medical insurance, education, infrastructure....to all. AOC, Bernie et al.... there is meat on this bone!

  15. In a recent open letter, Steve Hoback, a former N.R.A. official in its training department, warned that the organization had “become the swamp that many have lashed out against in our Federal government.” DRAIN THE SWAMP! says Donald

  16. Money, money, money. The NRA is all about money. It's a cash cow for its leaders, an advertising and lobbying group for the gun industry, and a tax scam. In today's Republican world, it doesn't get any more American than that, all wrapped up in the flag. Remember all the trouble and accusations conservatives raised over the Clinton Foundation? How many times was it investigated and how many times was it cleared? Here we have the darling of conservatism, which is behaving like a self dealing, tax free money machine for its executives. It doesn't get any more Republican than that, all wrapped up in the flag. Then they go and justify it all by staking claim to all the political gains they have made. Don't you people worry about all the laws we are breaking and the money we are taking from members to line our pockets. We are getting the results you want. Then they attack the investigators and law enforcement agencies for upholding the rule of law. It doesn't get any more Trumpian than that.

  17. @Bruce Rozenblit Brilliant. Always enjoy your take on these issues.

  18. You go New York Attorney General Letitia James! Our country has a lot invested in your job. The NRA is a good proving ground for battles to come.

  19. Why can't the NRA declare itself a full-blown religion and then qualify further for tax breaks and freebies? Already its adherents are those Americans whose irrational worship of the repetitive obscenity we call shootings is cultlike in its unswerving devotion...

  20. The leaders of the NRA are corruptly in bed withAckerman. They have Ackerman pay their outlandish salaries and personal expenses which Ackerman then bills back to the NRA (plus fat markups) as PR services rendered. Bingo. Everybody gets rich and the NRA’s non-profit status is preserved. Who pays for this scam? The Chumps who donate to the NRA pay. And pay and pay.

  21. @Casey - "Who pays for this scam?" You forgot the Russians.

  22. It really would be poetic justice to discover that by moving funds from one part of the organization to another, the NRA has managed to shoot itself in the foot or preferably a few feet higher.

  23. It would seem to be a den of vipers and thieves. Little wonder that they happily took money from Russia and no surprise that the modern NRA so well represents Trump's modern GOP. If I were s member I would feel pretty foolish for where my hard earned dues were going as its leader spends more than several times the average member's salary on designer clothes with money I expected to buy congressional influence. I mean does anything go to traditional NRA gun safety training anymore?

  24. Will Wayne LaPierre pull a gun on the auditors or regulators who are going to show up sooner than later? You know, “stand your ground”?

  25. @Cousy That would certainly be interesting!

  26. It looks like the chickens are finally coming home to roost. These hard boiled hypocrites, claiming to be patriots, are just another group of charlatans, squawking about oppression, waving the flag and lining their designer suits with the cash of right wing dupes who believe the ATF is lurking behind every tree and rock. Can we finally pry the gun out of Charlton Heston's cold, dead hand yet?

  27. @Emile DeVere: What an appropriate description...thanks, you made me chuckle today in a world swirling with idiot men.

  28. @Emile DeVere an accurate description of the vultures at the top of NRA.

  29. That's naked, ugly greed. And why do they have a charity? Is that to take care of the violence to our children and our citizens. Nope. It's for luxury shopping and trips.

  30. @pointofdiscovery - "Is that to take care of the violence to our children and our citizens?" A couple extra words in your sentence regarding the NRA charity: "Is that to take the violence to our children and our citizens?"

  31. $14,000 for 3 months rent for an intern? A $4666 apartment? Really? What other services were being provided to LaPierre?

  32. @D. DeMarco Exactly my first thoughts of the young lady! And I'm sure many others had the same question!

  33. @D. DeMarco that may seem high, but it's not necessarily out of the question. I have a friend who just started looking for an apartment in Alexandria, VA. He reported that the going rate for a 3 bedroom is over $3000. Considering they had a 3-month lease (which would no doubt be higher than a yearly one), it's actually realistic, albeit still shocking.

  34. @D. DeMarco, HA! In another life I worked with two individuals: one male, older, one female, younger. It was a disaster for me within six months. Imagine how the sordid story worked out!

  35. Charity according to definition is for helping the poor . Where is there poor qualities. There leaders have financial perks health benefits . Sounds like a corrupt ,dishonest Republican ally ready to be closed down. Lock them up.

  36. Now is the chance. With the depleted coffers of the NRA through greed, the NRA will not be unable to give the substantial donations to the Republicans in political donations. Maybe those with a conscious will be able to vote for gun safety measures since they will not be beholden to men like LaPierre and Snow .

  37. @Diane5555. No hope there, I think, as the Rs are kowtowing to the holders of Russian kompromat gained by hacking the RNC (denied, but a few reps spilled the beans before being shut down) and via interactions with Russian agents like Butina. Probably other ways as well - the Kochtopus is a good guess.

  38. Sounds a little like the Trump foundation just another scam to bilk the uninformed masses. Good to see the NY attorney general lift the covers and expose the con for all to see.

  39. @Chris: They are not 'ill-informed' they're just not interested in the truth. Lies help them feel better about themselves.

  40. @Chris The NRA is much more competently run than the Trump foundation. But just as corrupt.

  41. @Jasr in fairness, more competently Ron that the Trump Foundation is a low bar.

  42. Looks like there won't be much money that the NRA can donate to Republican candidates running for Senate and House of Reps seats, not to mention to states' electoral contests and to Trump himself. Will be interesting to see how that pans out.

  43. @Bruce Stafford: The NRA is just a middleman who launders money to the far right candidates.

  44. All you guns rights buffs. This is where your contributions to the NRA have been going, straight into the pockets of the big cats. Of course the outcome will only be a slap on the wrist and a fine. Think about that when the next school shooting happens.

  45. @mollie Not mine, I've been sending my cash to The Liberal Gun Club. They're nowhere near as corrupt.

  46. @M V Instead, how about sending your money to help the victims families whose child was killed in a school shooting?

  47. Sorry, but what can you expect from an organization that promotes ever greater gun lethality and ownership by all ... as a constitutional and moral imperative other than complete corruption, self dealing, misuse of charity status and funds and outlandish vainglorious spending from leaders who have been made into gods by their most ardent followers?

  48. It's hardly surprising that the people who rabidly exploit ordinary citizens' fear of government overreach in regulating the second amendment, also exploit them financially to line their own pockets.

  49. @lmsh While there are extreme ends of opinions, to be sure, the notion of "fear of government" is precisely why we have a Bill of Rights. Examples, foreign and domestic, are in the news daily.

  50. This makes me happy. I hold the NRA responsible for the deaths of school children in all the school shootings. If the NRA would have only helped this country pass sensible gun reform laws instead of rallying gun ownership like some god given right. The NRA seems to be quite the cash cow for these folks. Looks like they are rather corrupt.

  51. @LaLa Morally bankrupt individuals who line their own pockets while watching their own innocent countrymen and children being massacred with AK-47's. Words fail me to describe the cruelty and evil of these criminal crooks who line the pockets of Senators and help to campaign for the 45th. I hope the parents of the children in mass shootings are successful in bringing these individuals to justice. These same individuals were harassing the poor parents of the children who died at the Sandy Hook massacre. Sad, very sad.

  52. Wait until the Russian connection plays out. $75 million from the Soviets to the NRA to the Trump campaign. A.K.A money laundering and campaign finance violation.

  53. I do not want to wait that long. The pace of proof is slow these days.

  54. Follow the money and cut them off at the knees. It is simply outrageous that I work each year from Jan to the end of April to pay my fair share of taxes and yet, these openly partisan merchants of death m, the NRA pay nothing.

  55. @Keralforever and neither does Trump.

  56. What an ironic picture...the major players of the NRA standing in a circle shooting at each other!

  57. At least they're well dressed while doing it.

  58. Isn't the NRA tied to Putin. Even after mass shootings the Republicans still back the NRA. You have choices when voting . Yesterday was a topic on Women's right to choose, now it is gun control. IF you only vote based on economic issues, skip this article for the rest of us it is clear what is happening. NRA should be closed down.

  59. @Ralph Petrillo This iteration should be closed down, and a return to the NRA of the Eisenhower era is in order.

  60. The NRA is inconsequential to the question of in control. Even without the NRA no one is giving up their gins and the government would dare attempt to take them. NRA is just the scapegoat and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

  61. @There They also don't realize how many other gun lobbyist groups exist if they think the NRA's the bad guy. The NRA's way less scary than some of those other ones.

  62. @There You keep repeating this lie every time the subject of the NRA comes up. NRA money and influence on our elections and laws are easily documented - and that's just the money and lobbying effort that is visible. If the NRA was meaningless than so many red state legislators wouldn't run on their NRA rating. Also completely disingenuous to equate the death of the NRA with taking of guns. It might harken a return to the sanity of the days of "Field & Stream" and L.L. Bean.

  63. You can have my GIN when you can take it from my cold dead hand - or something like that.

  64. I used to be a Life Member of the NRA, and grew increasingly concerned as the organization became more and more politically partisan. Finally, one day, two things happened that caused me to throw in the towel. One was, in my monthly issue of American Rifleman, was a political article condemning Democrats generally, featuring inflammatory quotes from Senator Howard Metaenbaum. But what the article failed to mention was, Metzenbaum was no longer a Senator. In fact, he was no longer alive, having passed several years earlier. The second thing was, Oliver North was welcomed to the NRA Board of Directors. As we know, North was convicted of crimes against the USA, but his conviction was set aside on appeal because he had been granted immunity by Congress. But that did not change the fact that he committed acts I considered treasonous. So I left the organization. Although recently, after years of hearing nothing from them, they began sending me e-mails again, as if I were still a Life Member. North ultimately became NRA President. Its sad when an organization becomes so chaotic, it needs Oliver North to be its whistle blower. What a mess.

  65. @RM I left the second I found out my gun club didn't actually need NRA membership to use the range. Pretty much for similar reasons as yours. The NRA needs to get back to just talking on firearm-related topics again and realize that some of us are liberals or independents. Thankfully, there's a plethora of other second amendment lobbyist groups out there so I was able to find a couple that share my mindset.

  66. @RMOliver North is an unrepentant criminal. Case closed.

  67. This excellent article doesn’t even delve into the NRA’s once-lucrative role as a conduit for laundering Russian money. Or were we supposed to believe that the annual dues of rural hunters and gun enthusiasts funded the massive donations to GOP politicians’ campaigns? Once the spigot of rubles got turned off, the once-feared NRA was revealed as the gang of greedy, self-dealing frauds they’ve always been.

  68. @Tom Heintjes I'm assuming you've never been a member of the NRA and seen the many different ways they try to coax money out of their members? I was bombarded with tricks like "here's this dvd, if you like it, we'll charge you money in a month, otherwise, send it back to us before the month ends and owe nothing" or with emails about how horrible things were and how they needed money or with mailers on "hey, buy this random item that's got NRA stamped on it" or their insurance plans and so on. Trust me, the NRA does get a lot of money from its members.

  69. I’m trying to square the image of the NRA with $275,000 of Zegna luxury menswear and I’m having trouble getting there

  70. @KK Perhaps Zegna has a line that is all camo.

  71. @KK Tough guys need a lot of money for clothes and vacations.

  72. Why is the NRA a charity? It’s a Republican Party front group.

  73. @Demosthenes Well, it used to not be. And it still represents a lot of independent and liberal (yes, we exist) second amendment supporters. But yeah, I quit renewing my support of the NRA and went to other second amendment lobbyists that most people against the second amendment don't realize exist because the NRA has been pandering more and more to the right even outside of talking points related to firearms.

  74. @Demosthenes more accurately a gun-industry front group, with the GOP being yet another servant.

  75. These revelations explain to some extent what exactly the NRA leadership is so fervently defending -- their incomes and right to travel first class and shop on Rodeo Drive.

  76. Only one question, Why haven't we brought down the NRA already? Remove its tax exempt status and declare them a terrorist organization for backing people who commit heinous, terrorist crimwes.

  77. @Ken Sayers Probably because laws prevent us from just labeling those we don't like as terrorists.

  78. @M V Yuo're right MV ! Only in the US can a leagally tax exempt charitable organisation back people who commit heinous, terrorist crimes...

  79. The NRA's criminal and reprehensible profiteering of wealth exploiting the second amendment and tax fraud that lines the pockets of these subpar humans is money obtained at the cost of thousands of innocent lives. Djt's will continue to be ' a true friend and champion' of the NRA because this influential lobbying group is a base that helped him win in 2016 he needs to keep in 2020. I applaud the New York attorney general Letitia James. She and her office spark a glimmer of hope that this is the beginning of the end regarding the control this organization has to block much-needed gun control laws.

  80. Just wondering but could the fact the NRA is struggling be on the reliance of the foreign money that was gifted from Ukraine/Russia during the run up to the election but then the funds stopped flowing in? It seemed like it was millions of dollars transferred. Strange process of foreign actors influencing our policies.

  81. When Wayne LaPierre spends hundreds of thousands of dollars (yes, you read that right) at a Zegna store in Beverly Hills, and those expenses eventually are covered by membership dues, there isn't a problem. There is a failure. I look forward to reading how Mr. LaPierre accounted for that on his income taxes. Too often I read his statements that began with the preamble of "This isn't the right time to be discussing....." With regard to this topic; yes, Wayne, this is the right time to begin discussing not only your wardrobe purchases, but a heckuva lot more.

  82. Time for the IRS to put a stop to tax-exempt Foundations and Organizations. New York has successfully closed down the Trump Foundation for using Foundation money for personal expenses and other reasons. Most Foundations are formed to have wealthy people keep their money, give their relatives exorbitant pay and perks and not pay taxes. Charitable Foundations are only required to give 5% of their contributions away to a charitable cause. While there is plenty of proof that a lot of foundations do good work, there is no reason for a tax-exempt status. The same goes for Churches, Private schools and Universities. It robs the U.S. tax payer and the Treasury. As for Charitable Contributions being tax deductible, that should be looked at also. You either give because it is the right thing to do, or you give because you believe in the Foundation's mission. This report is indicative of how easy it is to use a Foundation for personal gain and corrupt purposes . And maybe bankrupt it along the way.

  83. The revolt of the armchair warriors. LaPierre joins Trump, Cheney, Bolton and a long line of republican chicken hawks who have spent their lifetimes compensating for being scaredy cats as young men. The result is a country in perpetual war, a citizenry armed for lethal battle, and thousands of dead schoolchildren with no end in sight. Most amazing of all, they have the support of most guys who really did serve their country with courage and honor. This is one of life's greatest mysteries to me, second only to union members who vote for guys who have decimated unions in this country.

  84. @Tom J The union connection was exactly what I was thinking of while reading this article. I'm 100% in favor of strong unions but over the years because of inept and criminal leadership they became their own worst enemy.

  85. More and more, I realize The degree to which the NRA is simply a well-funded arm of the gun industry. Membership dues do not keep this organization afloat. Though a hunter and handgun target-shooter who holds a concealed-carry license, I do not support this group, because they lost their way many decades ago when they became a political organization. In a recent article about Ruger shoguns, published in the NRA’s magazine American Rifleman, I read about the millions of dollars of annual donations that the company had made to the NRA after they began to produce a series of trendy polymer-frame pistols and AR-15 style rifles. Make no mistake, as with big tobacco decades ago, the gun industry is skewing our politics against needed gun-control laws through this lobbying organization. There is no chance that the Republican Party would strip them of their nonprofit status, but that is exactly what needs to be done. As much as I enjoy finally made firearms, I tend to buy them used not new, so none of my money will go into the coffers of the blood-money companies that make guns.

  86. Can you imagine the reaction from the Republicans if President Obama had been pictured saluting a meeting of ACLU delegates? The hysteria it would have evoked! Just another demonstration that Trump is mind-bogglingly unaware of his actions.

  87. @Andrew With things like that salute, I think this is the one area Trump is quite aware of what he does. He consistently does the symbolic actions that reinforce his authoritarian bent.

  88. It is true that the NRA thrives on members fear of legislation that will impair their rights of gun ownership and peaceful use. When "gun grabbers" are elected, or expected to be elected, sales of firearms soar, and prices are kept high. The industry expected Hillary Clinton to be elected. Manufacturers geared up their production and set aside warehouses full of inventory that would fly off the shelves with her election. But suddenly, surprise, Trump was elected instead. Gun enthusiasts reacted with relief, the danger of unfavorable legislation was abated. And as a result, they stopped buying guns as they once did You can buy an AR-15 for one third the price that they were after Sandy Hook, and they languish on the dealer shelves. Want to punish the NRA? Want to punish the firearms industry? Re-elect Trump. By 2024, they will be out of business.

  89. @RM You ask too much. Trump is a villain in more ways than one...and I could not in good conscience ever support him.

  90. @RM "Want to punish the NRA? Want to punish the firearms industry? Re-elect Trump" Well, that's a pretty discouraging set of choices. Fortunately for me, I don't see it that way. Dump trump and keep the heat on the NRA.

  91. This article blames the decrease in NRA member dues on Trump's election, as gun owners aren't worried about Trump threatening gun ownership. While undoubtedly true, another reason could be that Americans are horrified by the unending series of school and other mass shootings, and the NRA's tone deaf opposition to any form of sensible gun control is alienating former members.

  92. The NRA may be losing money now, but the second we get a democratic controlled congress or a democrat as president, the NRA will rake in cash again. When members and would-be members don't see a threat to the second amendment, they get a little lax in their support. When they see it, they pay up in record numbers. It's why so many guns were sold when Obama was in office, why guns and ammo were always out of stock after Newtown, and so on. With Trump in office, a senate controlled by republicans, and a supreme court that leans right, the NRA has less draw on the national level.

  93. @M V because so many Americans are utter fools who believe the proven nonsense that more guns make them safer. Or that political freedom rests on an add citizenry. Or that the 2nd Amendment was meant as an individual right to firearms. All, again, utter, murderous nonsense. www.meaningofthe2nd.com

  94. Thank you NYT for this - we really need it.

  95. Isn’t it always about following the money?

  96. Any member of the NRA who isn't demanding a complete purge or demanding their dues back is a fool complicit in the gross corruption of this phony "charity". Its two top figures until recently were LaPierre and North, both revealed to be engaged in colossal self-dealing, general corruption and the sort of hypocritical public statements that make corrupt congressman seem exemplary by comparison. And in the case of LaPierre, he appears to be in the legal cross-hairs for his lavish spending that has been both wasteful of the NRA's money and probably illegal in its tax and nonprofit expenditure implications. But hey, it's about time this bloated political bully is brought down after decades of exerting undue influence in the nation's capitol.

  97. Sorry to say it, but the NRA has indeed run off the rails. I have asked to be taken off their mail list several times but just this month they’ve mailed me twice. They must be desperate. And $275,000 spent by Wayne at Zegna? That’s just criminal.

  98. Allan West, a rather most exceptionally unusual one term Florida GOP former Congressman on the GOP Board of Directors ? If this represents good governance, the NRA has indeed devolved into, “The Swamp”

  99. from the article- "The power struggle has yet to abate. On Tuesday, Allen B. West, a former congressman, became the first board member since the convention to call on Mr. LaPierre to resign. He accused the current leadership of “outright lies” and said board members had not been made aware of the controversial spending practices." How ironic that LaPierre called out the "current leadership" of "outright lies." Lies are the currency of the NRA. After seeing an NRA ad in Field and Stream magazine that was full of lies and distortion (e.g. "There won't be any hunting if Clinton and Reno get their way ...") This message was the text in a slick, full color ad showing a grey haired Grandpa initiating his grandson into the joys of hunting and gun ownership. This was in 2000 and I immediately went to my local Democratic campaign office and volunteered for Al Gore. By the way, I own several guns and have been a lifelong hunter, buying a shotgun with my own money at the age of 15. I never believed the NRA's desperate lies about gun confiscation and I believe those who do believe is because that is what they want to believe, not because the NRA tells the truth.

  100. The need for the destruction of the NRA has been obvious for a long time. That the destruction would come from within was not obvious.

  101. The NRA gets a lot more credit for the gun rights mentality in this country than it deserves. It is the will of the people, not the NRA, that puts in office people who oppose oppressive gun legislation. For Democrats to win back the White House and Senate in 2020, it would behoove them not to make gun control legislation a major issue, NRA or no NRA. Hint: The NRA and the vast majority of Americans would support a national system for instantaneous background checks to enforce existing laws and close loopholes. Fund it!

  102. I continue to be perplexed by the Americans who believe God created the 2nd Amendment. It was, as most of us know, the result of centuries of societies forced to defend themselves with whatever weapons were extant at the time—spears, swords, arrow—until gunpowder was discovered and applied to a newer form of killer—guns. I know many people who love to hunt who are not put off by regulations requiring an approval process or the banning of assault weapons. I mean—LOGIC, PEOPLE. Can we really continue to kill our children because we allow easy access to guns? ‘ And regarding the NRA’s woes: Is anyone surprised?

  103. @Fred Dorbsky The will of the people has not been recognized as yet because most legislators who are Republican vote against them at every turn. Sorry, but you are 100% wrong. And statistics prove this. The time is coming....

  104. @Fred Dorbsky The NRA has time and again shown they do NOT support sensible background checks. They have many of their members and gun owners in general believing their propaganda that any gun legislation will lead to gun confiscation. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of this Awful organization.

  105. The NRA is a sect of pseudo patriots who hold a certain group of Americans in a form of thralldom. Gun rights are one thing--a gun dominated society is another. All dangerous objects must have restrictions. Operation of autos have many such restrictions because of the damage they can do. So do explosives, drugs and others. The NRA promotes a society of fear. They would have anyone, so inclined to carry weapons of their choice, where ever they wish, with the obvious intimidation such action implies. The NRA has taken the right to own guns to an absurd level of irrationality.

  106. @FJG As a gun owner, I would never be a NRA member. It is nothing more than far right wing propaganda machine of the Gun industry.

  107. I would hope the rank and file members of the NRA will stop for a second and realize the NRA has gotten too arrogant for it's own good and wants everyone to believe there is no dirt on the organization's hands. It's being 'poorly managed'? Au contraire. I'd say it's being managed exactly the way many corporations are managed. Top heavy with outrageously paid executives, utilizing every trick in the book to hide and misuse the money and make the little guy pick up the tab. The same business model Trump uses. By all means send in your dues. Looks like they need you now more than ever. Get out your checkbooks, gun owners. Imagine that. The Red Cross with far lower executive salaries. And look at all the lives they save or people they help. Let ole Win tell you he can't fight for your gun rights for less. To make sure gun laws in America stay right where they are. In MANY places in America today, an angry, lonely young man is exercising his 2nd amendment rights. Maybe, just maybe he is in your neighborhood. Biding his time. Wonder if he is breaking out his checkbook to help Win out in his time of need?

  108. I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but I do think it is time for the NRA to take a deep look at itself and assess its core values. If it is indeed an organization dedicated to supporting citizens rights, then it should review how it operates and refocus on its core mission. Too many organizations that take advantage of the "charity" model seem to be misusing the designation.

  109. @G G, "I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment,..." If you intend us to understand that opening statement means that you approve of unfettered access to all types of firearms by all people - you are the problem as much as the NRAs misuse of moneys.

  110. @G G - Its core value is greed.

  111. @G G Core values? Good one. Funny.

  112. "Tax experts have questions..." I bet they do indeed. Let's hope this is a fatal wound to the murderous scam machine that is the NRA.

  113. What a bunch of morons! Seriously, the whole thing is a right-wing, fevered scam, ostensibly “fighting for the second amendment,” as if a fight were actually necessary in America. Who is worse, the leadership and board, or the fools sending their hard-earned ducats so LaPierre can spend a quarter million on clothes at Zegna?

  114. Pretty amazing that the two top stories today are about Alabama banning abortion, and about how Alabama’s pet lobbying group, the NRA, thwarts taxes. Does anyone else see the irony?

  115. It seems like everyone on the right is just a grifter looking out for the best angle to help themselves to the average Jane and Joe’s money. And the average Joes and Janes cheer them on while they do it. It makes me think that classic line in Blazing Saddles wasn’t just a mean pot shot— it was spot on. “You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.” MAGA.

  116. So NOW I understand the motive behind the N.R.A.'s push for "Protect your family" and "buy guns Now!" Far from being about being a hero! It's ALL about getting $. Like contributions from gun dealers and gun owners... Buy now. Kill later.

  117. When Allen West is the voice of reason, you know it’s bad. Pass the popcorn.

  118. Charity begins at Home, but ends at luxury Boutiques in Beverly Hills. Suckers.

  119. Looks like the NRA is running a ponzi scheme. Raise money through your "foundation," contributions which you tell donors are tax deductible. Then loot the foundation for political activity (mostly benefiting the GOP), fat salaries, and men's clothing (among other things). MAGA!

  120. Here is an organization that talks 24x7 about being patriotic and for Constitutional rights and yet it is in bed with the Russians laundering money to the Republicans. NRA = National Russia Association

  121. I am a little bit sad (not at all, ha!ha!) for individuals who give $$$ to the NRA and see their $$$ spent or dilapidated the way it is. Keep on giving...

  122. NRA Charity? For what? Semis for the intellectually challenged? Any charity run by the NRA should already be picking up the clean up costs on school massacres. Finally another woman breaks through the glass ceiling...called in to do clean-up. Classic.

  123. I wonder if the NRA is one of the 14 investigations created from the Mueller report The NRA spends far more than they take in from members

  124. They get additional millions from gun manufacturers.

  125. looks to me that Wayne Lapierre has made the nra into his personal fiefdom, giving him money and power, while whipping up a frenzy.

  126. How many little first graders died at Sandy Hook school, and Wayne LaPierre got so rich off of his “nonprofit” NRA that he spent $39k in ONE day on clothes? The NRA makes sure we don’t have the most basic gun control laws, AND they’ve gotten rich off of it.

  127. We should all rejoice at the coming collapse of this profoundly evil organization. It has the blood of tens of thousands of Americans on its hands, and it has done its work primarily to prop of the gun industry and to foment manipulable political divisions among the American people. There is no place on Hades bad enough for the people who have led and prospered from the NRA.

  128. Well now we know another negative about the NRA, the main supporters of guns in America...we know that their leaders are corrupt thieves. I hope the NRA implode, and that they no longer have the voice that the mindless gun owners love to support.

  129. Please please please stop casually using the word “earn” when detailing a person making $1.4 million a year with perquisites. Daycare workers, podiatrists, chefs, freelancers, proctologists etc. Are the ones who EARN their salaries.

  130. But Mr. North’s threat effectively came to fruition in the recent leaks that documented not only Mr. LaPierre’s wardrobe and assorted expenses, but also a menu of other N.R.A. perks. I clicked on the link to the letter and say that Dave Butz (a former NFL player) received 100,000 dollars for "independent contractor fees" Dave Butz sits on the NRA Board, He also mentions in his Linkedin profile that he did work for Brownells. The web of payments and kickbacks to NRA insiders must be dizzying

  131. These documented and detestable actions of the NRA only add support to the gullibility-- if not worse-- of the supporters of President Trump, many if not most who appear to strongly back this President. Yet all they get in return is corruption, self-serving deals that benefit only insiders, and very little else. One is left to wonder what keeps these supporters tethered to such obviously incompetent leaders-- naivete, gullibility, ignorance, blind faith, or what? Perhaps worse-- an inability to distinguish truth from hype, fact from fiction, or ultimately good from bad.

  132. I'm a life member of the NRA because I support 2nd Amendment rights. However, over the past couple years I've grown weary of their excesses with what they do with their money, who they associate with [Russians] and their enduring infatuation with religious institutions. Someone of course has to defend the 2nd Amendment. The NRA has fallen prey to what happens to virtually all large organizations, they become obsessed with power and money. They in turn spend far too much internally to reward "officers". If I'd known they paid Lapierre $1.4 M [for what exactly?] instead of investing that money in national firearms safety classes, better benefits for members, etc. I would've seriously considered not paying life membership "dues". But my biggest objection is how they play to people's religious convictions and regurgitate their "god & country" puke. An organization CAN be for firearms rights and safety WITHOUT promoting religion. I've written the NRA a number of times on the subject and was simply ignored. Because the NRA uses "god & country" as a propaganda mechanism to appeal to people's emotions as opposed to having a sensible approach to public education about the 2nd Amendment and firearms safety. I've got to the point that whenever I get mail from the NRA it goes right in the household trash.

  133. Guess we better elect many more Democrats in the next election to help increase the NRA's donations. Lord knows these folks fall for the ole "they're gonna take away 2nd Amendment right" GOP rhetoric every time! Sad. So sad...

  134. Kudos to Ms.James, New York Attorney General,for examining the the spending of the NRA, Th Organization which is so quick to the barricades to defend the rights of everyone to own guns of any type with the most minimum restrictions.It is no surprise that this group which has held politicians in its grasp is actually a corrupt enterprise with its directors richly rewarded, enjoying all the perks of the very wealthy while pretending to lobby for its members.The NRA has intimidated thousands all the while collecting money to spend on themselves and their friends.They are not only hypocrites,they are crooked hypocrites.

  135. Looks like only thing that stops bad guys with guns is an accountant.

  136. @E Bennet - Best comment of the day. Thank you.

  137. Think of all the innocent school children who have been brutally slaughtered so these guys could stuff their pockets with money.

  138. Just like the Trump administration is playing West Virginia coal miners, Michigan and Ohio auto workers, and Midwestern farmers for suckers, so also is the NRA playing its dues-paying members for fools, so that LaPOiere and North can enjoy the Trump lifestyle and laugh all the way to the bank!

  139. It would seem that the NRA and evangelical preachers use the same pleas and methods to reap money from their duped believers so as to finance the lavish lifestyles to which they feel entitled. Who said the worship of God and guns doesn't pay?

  140. The NRA has been taking money from Russia for years. Russia has some of the most restrictive (sensible?) gun laws in the world. Russia doesn't mind, though, if the U.S. doesn't have the same kinds of laws. Russia doesn't mind if there are dead American kids in schools. Or dead Americans in movie theatres, or dance clubs, or concerts in parks. All thanks to you NRA 'patriots'.

  141. Bad people do bad things. Nothing shocking here. Just another case of “armed” robbery.

  142. Note to Mr. LaPierre, the expensive clothing does not help you in any way. It was money wasted. The NRA should be investigated out of existence. Their secretive and cult like following has apparently created an organization full of grifting and fraud to benefit their 'leaders'. Looks like membership now supports a personal slush fund for those who are in leadership roles. The tax-exempt status should be removed. And we still have no idea about the alleged infusion of Russian money into the NRA during the 2016 election. Did it happen or not? Did Mr. LaPierre buy more clothing or did he give it to Trump?

  143. The IRS 501.c3 Non-Profit status ad should be revoked. It is a lobbying organization with foreign contributors that is doing great harm to our country. Only about 10% of gun owners belong to it.

  144. As Former NRA spokesman Charlton Heston said that you'd have to pry a gun away "From my cold dead hands" now the NRA top officials claim the same about their expense accounts. Can the most odious organization in the country prove itself any worse?

  145. $275,000 for clothes? He must have been planning a Mar-a-Lago weekend.

  146. Does the internal corruption and hypocrisy of this organization surprise anyone?

  147. I'm sure their eastern membership who see value in the NRA would be happy to arrange a line of credit. Even though the Ruble isn't doing so well these days.

  148. What a surprise. The NRA leadership has been lining its own pockets for years with the donations of the gun believers. Not unlike all those phony religious scams really.

  149. The Russian influencers/donators got caught and the NRA's big money source dried up. I wonder how many years that had been going on?

  150. Time to remove this tax scam - the NRA is nothing more than a shameless lobbying group for gun manufacturers and a mouthpiece for gun violence. I’m shocked a group like this was “tax exempt” in the first place.

  151. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of this terrible organization that has subverted the will of the people for a generation. They are a political lobbying organization whose sole purpose is to help manufacturers sell more guns. More guns equals more violence as evidenced by the sheer volume of gun deaths in this country.

  152. The country owes Letitia James a debt of gratitude for getting this ball rolling. The next step -- withdrawing New York State's tax exemption -- should be straightforward. There appears to be more than enough financial evidence that the NRA is not a charity. The moral evidence has been apparent for decades.

  153. @Blueboat That would also be a very effective method of gutting their legislative effectiveness. Suddenly their footprint and reach becomes much smaller. Their membership base is actually quite small - very fanatical, but quite small. There are plenty of shooters who support stringent gun laws...and they are not members of the NRA.

  154. @Blueboat Sorry, you are wrong -- the NRA IS a charity. For Wayne la Pierre, Oliie North and a few others.

  155. To say that they help put two Supreme Court justices in place shows their power and intent. The NRA should be all about gun safety instead of a gun industry. They need Gabby Giffords to clean house and set the organization on the right track.

  156. Here I thought it was going to take the likes of Wikileaks--not that they're into doing good lately--or Anonymous to somehow hack into the NRA's files to try to defang them. Really, seems like their own 'leadership' is more than up to the task. But like a poisoned well in the Middle Ages, the harm they did will continue for a long time...

  157. This piece is a tad confusing. Let me try. The NRA controls five (possibly more) nonprofit organizations. The main entity, the NRA, is a 501(c)4 which means that it is nonprofit BUT contributions are not tax-deductible. The NRA Foundation is a 501(c)3. Contributions ARE deductible. The issue here is the transfer of tax-deducted contributions to the ineligible NRA. BTW, the other three nonprofits all 501(c)3s are: NRA Freedom Action Foundation NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund American Firearms and Shooting Foundation I haven't the time or inclination to go through all of the tax returns but I suspect that they are moving money around improperly. You cannot transfer funds from a 501(c)3 to a 501(c)4.

  158. @dcaryhart, I believe I read in Jane Mayer's book Dark Money that the Koch's and their affiliates also transfer money around, as well. While researching on how to remove a virus/malware from my computer, I discovered that the Koch's had hired a tech professional to attack Jane Mayer's tech privacy and security.

  159. Gun control and regulations are not "anti-gun".

  160. As a non-NRA member there are a few things I don't understand: Why are they a non-exempt entity and therefore not paying taxes? It appears they are involved in politics, direct marketing, profit making sideline businesses etc. Why are Wayne LaPierre and the other execs making in excess of $1m per year? Why is Mr. LaPierre charging in excess of a quarter million dollars in clothing to the organization. Most people in the public eye do not do this. Zegna? Beverly Hills? Not a good image. Why another $250,000 plus for limos and planes to vacation-spots abroad where NRA work was ostensibly done? Hmmmm. Why are members of the Board allowed to profit so generously on side gigs for the organization? An intern in a three month $14,000 apartment? By herself. Bears looking into. The relationship with Ackerman? The use of Foundation funds transferred for operations and other expenses? Is that legal? Little of this appears consistent with the goals of most non-profits. As a member, The Board, the State Attorney General, the press and the public, I would be asking questions...many questions. Something is definitely wrong in Gunville.

  161. @It's About Time The NRA is a 501(c)(4) organization, a social welfare organization, which is allowed to make some political statements, but must limit that activity, and donors cannot take tax deductions from contributions. The NRA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donors are allowed to take deductions for their contributions, but charitable organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in political campaigns. According to this article, the NRA Foundation, which is cash rich, is funneling money to the “social welfare” organization which is cash poor. So not only is the NRA funding lavish lifestyles for its executives while also engaging in political speech all the time, it is doing so with Foundation money, which should result in both organizations losing their tax-exempt status and denying deductions for any donors that took them.

  162. the evil gummint will pry the NRA's tax exempt status from their cold, dead hands.

  163. With all of the NRA’s financial shenanigans, its bigwigs should be very afraid. There’s a federal RICO prosecution lurking in there.

  164. Just disgusting. The Elites ripping off the rest of the country again. This story reveals how fictitious the separation is between the social education side and the political side. Tax exemptions come at a cost for all taxpayers by lessening revenue and spreading the responsibility for paying the national debt and operating expenses of the government. As a taxpayer I really don’t want to be forced to subsidize lavish lifestyles for the Elites and their friends and families and mistresses. And, yes, this applies to both sides of the divide. Thank you, NYT and Attorney General James, for exposing this tax scam. And, Congress, it is past the time to review tax exemptions.

  165. @Rita: Exactly WHO are these “elites” you speak of? I’m truly curious. Go ahead, name names. I’ll wait...

  166. @Angela Watson LaPierre and Ackerman for starters.

  167. @Angela Watson I’d call a guy with over a $1M annual salary in ‘elite’ company....

  168. From the IRS website: Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. If the NRA is taking tax deductible donations from its charitable foundation and funneling it to the NRA itself, a group that aggressively advocates for and against political candidates all the time, even rating them with grades based on how desirable those candidates are, it should flat-out lose its tax-exempt status and be prosecuted for tax fraud.

  169. AG Letitia James is a good lawyer and the right person for a tough job in NY state. If there is any misuse of funds by the NRA or its representatives, she will find it. There should be no special treatment of for people who spend $274,000+ on clothes. One wonders if the NRA will pay for Mr. LaPierre's legal fees to defend his sartorial elegance.

  170. Discontented 2nd Amendment folks are the potential bane of our existence. The constitution does not provide a safe haven for kooks and discontented males to stockpile weapons. I can only hope AI technology leads to robots or personal safety. Siri, take down that group of marauders in our backyard.

  171. Time to take a good hard look at the NRA congressional ratings register. Does your congressman know where the NRA gets the money to donate to their campaign? Instead of making organizations like the NRA tax exempt, money which they in turn use to influence politics and to finance your congressman, why not just make voters finance Congressional campaigns directly? Every candidate gets the same election budget and is required to live with it, under the same conditions that government programs have to operate.

  172. "They're kind of running the organization into the ground." Good! Hope it happens sooner rather than later.

  173. And I hope it slowly twists in the wind till gone completely.

  174. Seems God and Guns have quite a bit in common, they both fleece their followers.

  175. @David - I don't know. God has a pretty nice retirement plan.

  176. Come on guys you know it’s all those bleeding heart liberals trying to take their guns away! Just wait till Fox News starts grumbling!

  177. Perhaps in the next election, those F ratings handed out by the NRA will be viewed both as a sign of courage and of honor.

  178. The NRA is a needless organization. It's mission statement seems to say 'the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun'. What an idiotic fear-based rationale. Only bested by the mis reading the constitution's right to bear arms clause. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." I guess being on a mailing list defines their "well regulated militia.? Like any (R) backed scheme, the NRA is a cesspool of self dealing whose leadership rots from the head.

  179. The NRA is a money laundering operation for Russian criminals.

  180. “Gun rights group” ? What a misnomer ! They are first and foremost a big business lobbying organization. Ask them why they left off part of the 2d Amendment from their entrance way.....because they are a fraudulent group. Just ask the late Warren Burger.

  181. The NRA militia appears to be poorly regulated.

  182. It should come as no surprise that the NRA mimics the ethical challenges of it's guiding master...Wayne LaPierre. Lost in shrillness of the NRA's approach and the sensational coverage this odious organization generates are a few lesser known techniques the organization uses to generate income. Here are just two: The NRA sponsors shooting teams at many local gun clubs across the nation - providing these small teams with free/sponsored gear. The catch? EVERY member of the club is subsequently required to join the NRA as a paying dues member. A small upfront cost to the NRA to generate an extortionist annuity. The NRA worked with firearms companies to add a "tax" to every round a shooter purchases. That means that whether or not you join the NRA, every time you purchase a round (bullet) you are supporting the NRA. This is not an opt-in funding method, nor is it disclosed when purchasing ammunition. The NRA is morally bankrupt. It is a disgrace to anyone with a conscious - and certainly anyone who cares about needless bloodshed. I think very little would change at the NRA by replacing LaPierre, but it's certainly a start. Turns out the CEO is a bad guy with a gun. Who knew...except everybody.

  183. Nice Lib spin, but here's a different perspective. Their financial issues will quickly disappear when the next Dem sits in the White House. Gun and ammo sales will increase too. As for "gun control" legislation, good luck collecting the 300 mill guns privately owned, and the 10 year stockpile of ammo. The clowns in NY will be tied up in the courts for a decade or so too. Keep up the good work Libs. A Proud Deplorable

  184. Translation: “I admit it, this is a poltical org, not a charity. We make our money on fear and hatred, and I can’t wait to see the cash rolling in. Meanwhile, I’ll be hunkered in my bunker, oiling my gun and dreaming of being a White Hero.”

  185. This situation is a direct reflection on the membership of the organization, just as the thefts by television evangelists reflected their audience and contributors. Sanctimonious true believers attach to a self-righteous corrupt demagogues. Ignorant people will believe anything.

  186. The NRA was once a sportsman organization devoted to gun safety & training. Now they’re are front for arms manufacturers and advocate for laws that allow gun ownership without restraint. When I was a kid the NRA came to our schools to teach us gun safety at home and use while hunting. Now the NRA is the enabler of people with guns who come into our schools to slaughter children & adults. We’ve all become “collateral” damage & guns are a deadly commodity sold through ignorance, fear & paranoia so the NRA leadership & arms makers can mine misery for wealth.

  187. @John Chastain The NRA was a front for gun manufacturers from day one! ( People are still kidding themselves about the NRA - they are acting like teens in love with the fantasies of love rather than with a specific person who is very bad for them.)

  188. My late husband was a lifetime member of the NRA. He passed away almost years ago and last week I started getting phone calls from this organization asking for money! I love that they may be doing themselves in; it can't happen quickly enough, and their tax-exempt status needs to be revoked.

  189. "Mr. LaPierre, who earns more than $1.4 million a year, billed $267,000 in personal expenses ..., He even arranged for Ackerman to pay an intern’s rent." Who is that intern - a very odd little detail of LaPierre's connections.

  190. Seems like being confrontational and pushing their members to believe that the government is after every gun was good strategy. These guys REALLY have blood on their hands.