New York attorney general launches investigation into NRA's tax-exempt status
© Greg Nash

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has launched an investigation into the National Rifle Association's finances, including the NRA's tax-exempt status, according to The New York Times

“The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation related to the National Rifle Association (NRA),” Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said in an email, according to The Associated Press. “As part of this investigation, the Attorney General has issued subpoenas.”

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The Times added that James on Friday instructed the NRA and its affiliated entities to preserve all relevant financial records as part of the probe. The NRA's charitable foundation was reportedly one of the affiliated entities to receive the instructions. 

The Times, citing sources familiar with the inquiry, reported that James's office also issued subpoenas to the NRA's related businesses. 

“The N.R.A. will fully cooperate with any inquiry into its finances,” William A. Brewer III, the N.R.A.’s outside counsel, said in a statement, according to the Times and the AP. “The N.R.A. is prepared for this, and has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance.”

James had vowed to launch an investigation into the NRA's not-for-profit status while campaigning for attorney general last year. She said at a rally in July that, if elected, she would use her power to regulate charities such as the NRA, the AP noted. 

Her investigation comes amid an internal clash among top members of the gun lobby. NRA President Oliver NorthOliver Laurence NorthJuan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller DC attorney general subpoenas NRA financial records in nonprofit investigation Top NRA executive resigns amid extortion allegations MORE announced Saturday that he would not run for reelection, a move that came just day after reports surfaced about a leadership struggle between him and  NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

LaPierre sent a letter to the NRA board accusing North of pressuring him to resign over allegations of financial misdeeds, according to reports. 

The AP reported that internal clash was sparked in part by New York promising to investigate the group. The NRA had reportedly started reviewing all of its contractors after James made her vow last summer. 

The gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety filed an IRS complaint against the NRA earlier this month. The complaint called for an investigation into whether the NRA was violating tax laws surrounding charitable organizations. 

The Hill has reached out to the New York attorney general's office for further comment.