Gun control group files complaint over NRA's tax-exempt status
© Greg Nash

A gun control group has filed an IRS complaint against the National Rifle Association (NRA), calling for an investigation into whether the gun rights organization violated tax laws surrounding charitable organizations.

"The NRA is a purported charity and exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and we write today to alert you to what we believe are activities that clearly fall outside of the NRA’s charitable purpose and mission," Everytown for Gun Safety said in a letter attached to their complaint filed Thursday.

"We call on the IRS to commence an investigation into whether (i) the NRA has violated the federal laws governing 501(c)(4) charitable organizations, and (ii) if so, consider what remedies are warranted, including potential revocation of the NRA’s 501(c)(4) status."

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Everytown filed the complaint following an article in The New Yorker on Wednesday that claimed that "a small group of N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements."

“The litany of red flags is just extraordinary,” Marc Owens, a former IRS official who oversaw tax-exempt enterprises at the agency, was quoted saying in the story. “Those facts, if confirmed, could lead to the revocation of the N.R.A.’s tax-exempt status," he added later.

A lawyer representing the NRA told The New Yorker that the group "has serious concerns about the accuracy of this reporting and The New Yorker’s sources. Of course, we cannot comment on privileged communications or personnel matters.”

Everytown said in its letter to the IRS that "the NRA’s questionable business practices not only appear to stray from the norms and rules governing charities, but also threaten the financial health of the organization."

The NRA did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.