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DC sues the NRA Foundation for alleged misused funds

DC sues the NRA Foundation for alleged misused funds
© Greg Nash

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine (D) on Thursday announced a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association (NRA) Foundation, accusing the gun rights group’s charitable arm of misuse of funds.

The suit filed accused the foundation of allowing charitable association funds for non-charitable purposes and failing to operate as an independent nonprofit, both violations of D.C. law.

“Donors gave money to fund firearms safety, firearms education and marksmanship training,” Racine said in a tweet announcing the lawsuit. “Instead, that money was diverted to support wasteful spending by the NRA and its executives.”

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Racine claimed the NRA borrowed $5 million from the foundation on two occasions, once in 2017 and again in 2018. Racine also accused the foundation of paying millions in fees to the NRA with no oversight and placing the NRA’s interests above its own, in violation of its articles of incorporation.

“Because the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and executives are dominated by the NRA, and the NRA had subverted the Foundation’s independence, the Foundation has allowed itself to be financially exploited through, among other things, unfair loans and management fee payments to the NRA,” the lawsuit states. 

“In allowing its funds to be diverted from charitable purposes and wasted to prop up the NRA in impermissible ways, the Foundation Board of Trustees has failed to provide meaningful oversight and failed in its fiduciary duties.”

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Racine’s announcement came the same day New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA itself. James alleged that the pro-gun interest group violated state law that governs nonprofit organizations. 

The civil suit alleges that top officials at the organization diverted millions of dollars away from its charitable mission and instituted "a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight."

The NRA is incorporated in New York, while the foundation is incorporated in the District. Both have their headquarters at the same Fairfax, Va., address.

The Hill has reached out to the NRA Foundation for comment.