N.R.A. President Oliver North Steps Down As New York Attorney General Letitia James Launches Investigation
Oliver North announced on Saturday that he would not serve a second term as the president of the National Rifle Association.
The announcement was made as the N.R.A. grapples with internal and external conflict. On Friday, the New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into the organization’s tax-exempt status.
James’ office sent letters instructing the N.R.A and affiliated entities, including its charitable foundation, to keep relevant financial records. Other N.R.A.-related businesses have also received subpoenas.
Both the attorney general’s office and a lawyer for the N.R.A. confirmed the investigation.
In a statement Saturday evening, the office of the attorney general said it had “launched an investigation related to the National Rifle Association.”
James has special jurisdiction over the N.R.A. because it was chartered in New York.
N.R.A.’s outside counsel, William A. Brewer III, said in a statement that the group will “fully cooperate with any inquiry into its finances.” In the past, Brewer has criticized James for threatening to investigate the N.R.A. before she was elected, stating that she was going on “a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition.”
James’ inquiry into the group’s tax-exempt status could create a number of potential issues. In early 2019, The New York Times reported that the group’s affiliated charity, the N.R.A. Foundation, had transferred more than $100 million since 2012 to the N.R.A. and also lent the group $5 million in 2017.
Donations to the N.R.A. Foundation are tax-deductible, while those to the N.R.A. are not and the transfers may be concerning.
Nonprofit rules dictate a cautious approach for transactions that could benefit their own executives, but since 2010, the N.R.A. has paid $18 million to a company that produces Under Wild Skies, a hunting show on NRATV, The Times reported. Tyler Schropp, the N.R.A.’s advancement director, had a stake in said production company until at least 2017.
The Attorney General’s inquiry is not the only threat the N.R.A. faces; it is already in a legal battle with the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the insurance it offers to gun owners.
North began his term as president in September 2018 and ended his term on Monday.