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Sen. Wyden Questions Whether NRA Tax-Exempt Status Should Be Revoked As WaPo Columnist E.J. Dionne Calls NRA Leaders “Racketeers” and “Swindlers”

May 16, 2019

Multiple NRA board members are calling for NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s resignation amid new revelations about his lavish spending of NRA member dues, questionable financial transactions benefiting NRA executives and insiders, and a New York Attorney General investigation. Now, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, is questioning whether the NRA’s tax-exempt status should be revoked. Earlier this month, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) wrote a letter to the IRS commissioner calling for an IRS investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status. Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne excoriates the NRA’s leaders as “racketeers” and “swindlers.”

In a statement released yesterday, Sen. Wyden said:

“Nonprofit organizations are exempt from federal taxes so they can better contribute to society, not so their executives and board members can enjoy luxurious lifestyles and further personal business interests on the backs of taxpayers. Recent reporting detailing lavish spending by N.R.A. officials reinforces our Finance Committee investigation into allegations of self-dealing and raises serious questions about whether the N.R.A’s tax-exempt status should be revoked. Our investigation will add to this record when it’s complete.”

And in a column yesterday, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne wrote:

“So it’s a change of pace that a slew of reports in recent weeks amply justify the headline ‘NRA in disarray.’ Accounts about the organization’s financial crisis and internal dysfunction confirm what many of us have always suspected: The National Rifle Association is a racket that stokes fear, aggravates our country’s divisions and blocks reasoned debate about gun violence to feather the nests of the conservative elite. A self-dealing class exploits the anxieties of Americans far removed from power and turns the Second Amendment into a money machine. No wonder President Trump loves the NRA so much.
“The most revelatory detail in the latest of these stories, a helpfully extensive investigation this week by Danny Hakim in the New York Times, concerns the fashion habits of Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s longtime chief executive. Hakim reports that LaPierre billed the organization that claims to speak for the heartland $275,000 ‘for purchases at the Zegna luxury men’s wear boutique in Beverly Hills.’

“As often happens with racketeers, the NRA gang has had a falling-out. That’s why we are getting so much new information as one bunch leaks against another. Quite a crew they have over there! And we will be learning more about the organization’s sketchy internal workings because New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the NRA’s tax-exempt status.”

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