NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to a Business Insider report that “Don Jr. [is eyeing] a run for NRA chief,” and that “Trump advisors have been buzzing about the possibility of Trump Jr. taking on Wayne LaPierre for control of the NRA.”
“It’s hard to believe the NRA may soon be led by someone even more incompetent and corrupt than Wayne LaPierre, but evidently that’s a very real possibility,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “In a way, it would be a perfect fit — both NRA leadership and Don Jr. are totally indifferent to the loss of American lives.”
“Donald Trump Jr. has spent the last four years aiding and abetting an administration rife with self-dealing, leaving mass death and destruction in its wake,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Let’s just say that he would feel right at home at the NRA.”
This news comes at a time when the NRA is mired in immense financial and legal turmoil. Last week, the Washington Post reported that “the National Rifle Association has made a stunning declaration in a new tax filing: Current and former executives” –– including NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre –– “used the nonprofit group’s money for personal benefit and enrichment.” This shocking acknowledgment of wrongdoing contradicted years of NRA denials and lent credence to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ recently filed lawsuit, which seeks to dissolve the NRA for exactly this type of self-dealing.
The Post report further painted a picture of the NRA in extreme financial distress, with legal fees “soar[ing] in 2019 to $38.5 million” and membership dues plummeting by 34 percent. These financial woes appear to have led the NRA to slash spending on key political campaigns, with the organization “allocat[ing] less than $17 million for President Trump’s reelection… compared with the $30 million it spent to help elect Trump in 2016.”
Additional troubles at the NRA include:
- Financial woes: Earlier this year, the NRA reportedly laid off or furloughed over 200 employees due to financial struggles, and Wayne LaPierre was caught on tape saying that the NRA suffered “about a $100 million hit” in 2018 and 2019, and that he he took “about $80 million” out of the budget for the NRA to “survive.”
- Legal troubles: This summer, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit seeking to dissolve the NRA for allegedly violating New York’s charities law. On the same day, DC Attorney General Karl Racine sued the NRA for allegedly exerting undue influence over the NRA Foundation. On top of that, the NRA also faces a class action lawsuit, is embroiled in various lawsuits with former business partner Ackerman McQueen, and just settled a lawsuit with New York State’s Department of Financial Services –– an investigation which began after Everytown conducted and shared an investigation into the NRA’s Carry Guard program in 2017. These lawsuits have led to immense legal costs, with the NRA allegedly paying its top lawyer an estimated “$54 million” in the last two years alone.
A detailed history of the NRA’s finances and litigation can be found on NRAWatch.org.