Wineke: The NRA thieves get caught
MADISON, Wis. — The State of New York now wants the National Rifle Association disbanded because its top leadership consists of a bunch of crooks.
The state’s attorney general says NRA head Wayne LePierre and three associates have looted the gun owners’ association of some $64 million in grift during the past three years.
Among other things, New York Attorney General Letetia James accuses LaPierre of writing himself a post-retirement contract of $17 million without seeking approval of his board of directors, letting the NRA’s law firm pick up millions of dollars for his personal expenditures and, then, billing it back to the gun lobby. James also accused LaPierre of using a vendor’s 107-foot yacht for his personal vacations.
In response, the NRA accused James of bringing the suit for political reasons. President Trump suggested the organization relocate to Texas, something the NRA cannot do legally without James’ permission.
To be sure, the timing of the suit, three months before the presidential election, does raise some cautionary flags.
But this didn’t come out of the blue. LaPierre maneuvered to oust former NRA president Oliver North a couple of years ago after North demanded a financial accounting. Oliver North is not some liberal do-gooder. He is a right-wing nut.
But he was not a sufficiently corrupt right-wing nut to make LaPierre feel comfortable.
The question, however, is not whether New York’s accusations are political; the question is whether they are true.
If LaPierre and his top associates have been regularly looting the organization, there should be legal consequences.
The fact that they are accused of looting millions, rather than thousands of dollars shouldn’t give them special privileges.
Look at it this way: Every couple of years or so we read of an executive of a smaller local charity — a nursing home, a trade organization, something like that — who is accused of embezzling some thousands of dollars from his or her employer.
The result is that person’s life is pretty much ruined. They often have to pay the money back. They often ends up in prison. Society takes that sort of thing seriously. Presidents don’t rise to the offender’s defense.
The thing about the NRA is that the whole operation is built on a lie.
It raises money by convincing donors that the Second Amendment guaranteeing citizens the right to bear arms is under attack.
The Second Amendment has never been under attack. The NRA has convinced people that, unless we approve the right of an average citizen to use rifles capable of destroying tanks, our Constitutional rights are threatened.
They’re not. It’s all been a fake crusade, one in which cynics like LaPierre become wealthy beyond belief and mass shootings regularly kill kids.
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