Business & Lobbying

IRS investigating NRA’s LaPierre for possible criminal tax fraud: report

Wayne LaPierre, the longtime head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), is under investigation by the IRS on suspicion of criminal tax fraud, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

LaPierre, who has led the organization since 1991, is already the subject of a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). In the lawsuit, James alleged the gun rights organization did not include some personal benefits in compensation paperwork, allowing LaPierre to “file false personal tax returns with the IRS.”

LaPierre has frequently been alleged to take undisclosed compensation from both the NRA and vendors. Leaked documents indicate he charged more than $540,000 in clothing purchases to the NRA’s advertising firm. The NRA has defended these expenses as business-related.

A criminal tax investigation would mean the IRS is “looking for evidence of concealment,” Mark Matthews, former head of the IRS’s criminal investigation unit, told the Journal.

The IRS would need to prove a taxpayer willfully underreported their compensation, usually through multiple years, to pursue a criminal case.

“The NRA is not aware of any IRS inquiry but, of course, will fully cooperate with any appropriate requests for assistance,” William A. Brewer III told the newspaper.

The Hill has reached out to the IRS and NRA for comment.

Nonprofit executives are rarely the subject of criminal tax cases, although then-United Way CEO William Aramony served six years on such charges in the 1990s.


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