Misleading reports exist about several legal matters involving the NRA. This website presents key documents and facts — to set the record straight and allow the public to judge for itself.
In the news
NRA Files Memorandum of Law in Opposition to NYAG’s Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit
Coalition of 16 Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Supporting
NRA Case Against NYAG Letitia James
December 22, 2020 — Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, on behalf of its client, the National Rifle Association of America ("NRA"), filed a memorandum of law in opposition to New York Attorney General ("NYAG") Letitia James' motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the NRA against James. That lawsuit alleges that the NYAG weaponized her regulatory and legal powers to harm a political adversary.
"In this filing, the NRA confronts the efforts of the New York Attorney General to avoid legal scrutiny for the obvious abuse of the powers of her office,” said William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel to the NRA. "The NRA believes James' open hostility toward the Association and its law-abiding members is unconscionable. Courts have repeatedly held that the underlying chilling effects of conduct like James’ require judicial scrutiny."
Filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, the NRA's August 2020 lawsuit notes that James vowed to "target the NRA" and "investigate the legitimacy of the NRA as a charitable organization" while on the campaign trail in July 2018 – before taking office and without any evidence of compliance failures. She called the NRA a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.”
In April 2019, the NYAG announced an investigation of the NRA and, predictably, sued to dissolve the Association in the ramp up to the November national election. The NRA requested declaratory and injunctive relief under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as a judicial declaration that the NRA operates in substantial compliance with New York not-for-profit law.
On November 20, 2020, the NYAG filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
In the most recent filing, dated December 21, 2020, the NRA states that it has "meritorious constitutional claims, the dismissal of which could radically alter how states regulate non-profits engaged in political speech.” The NRA confronts James’ plea for absolute immunity by observing, “…the conduct alleged in the Complaint was investigative in nature. Indeed, the NRA alleges that James’ actions as NYAG – including, but not limited to, the investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status – were done under color of state law and undertaken directly in response to and substantially motivated by the NRA’s political speech regarding the right to keep and bear arms.”
Joining the NRA in opposing James is Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who filed an amicus brief in support of the NRA's case. Arkansas is joined in the amicus brief by Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
In their brief, the Attorneys General state that the "New York AG cannot be allowed to wield the power of her Office to discriminate against the NRA simply because she doesn't like its members' political views, advocacy, and defense of a fundamental constitutional right.... Her motion should be denied, and the NRA's suit should move forward."
The actions of James to dissolve the NRA have come under scrutiny from many leading legal experts and constitutional scholars, including the ACLU.
In an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, dated August 26, 2020, ACLU national legal director David Cole writes, “You may have your own opinions about the NRA, but all Americans should be concerned about this sort of overreach. If the New York attorney general can do this to the NRA, why couldn’t the attorney general of a red state take similar action against the ACLU, the AFL-CIO, Common Cause, or Everytown for Gun Safety?”
Cole continues, “There is simply no precedent for such extreme action against an organization like the NRA, which, whether you like it or not, has been serving charitable purposes very effectively (indeed, many of its opponents would say, too effectively) for a century and a half.”
NRA, Wayne LaPierre Notch Win Against Virginia Firm Dycio & Biggs
December 18, 2020 — The NRA and its CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre were vindicated this week in a Virginia courtroom. On December 18, 2020, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Catherine Hammond ruled in favor of the Association in a high-profile dispute with the Virginia law firm of Dycio & Biggs (Dycio).
The ruling comes almost one year after the NRA sued Dycio, alleging the firm had defrauded the NRA.
According to an NRA lawsuit, dated December 27, 2019, Dycio allegedly performed legal work for the NRA for more than five years – for which the firm was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite cashing in on years of invoices that claim the firm had performed legal services, Dycio mounted an unusual defense: it denied ever representing the NRA.
As part of the backstory, Dycio allegedly represented parties adverse to the Association. In response, the NRA sought the return of its client files and other communications – which Dycio refused to turn over. In furtherance of its pursuit of Dycio, an NRA investigation revealed that some of the services for which it compensated Dycio were never actually performed. The NRA’s suit asserts the invoices were fraudulent, and it filed claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion and fraud.
Seven months later, Mark R. Dycio and the Dycio firm turned around and sued Mr. LaPierre, asserting claims for contribution and indemnification. Amazingly, Mr. Dycio argued in his own third-party complaint against Mr. LaPierre that it was Mr. LaPierre, not the Dycio firm, who caused the creation and submission of these invoices – knowing at the time that they were fraudulent. Dycio falsely alleged that Mr. LaPierre instructed Dycio to submit the invoices to the Association.
Based on that alleged directive, Dycio sought contribution and indemnification from Mr. LaPierre. On December 18, 2020, Judge Hammond sustained Mr. LaPierre’s demurrer, dismissing the third-party complaint in its entirety without prejudice. In doing so, Judge Hammond ruled that Dycio could not recover contribution or indemnification from Mr. LaPierre, in part, because Dycio admitted to intentional wrongdoing – including breaches of fiduciary duty, conversion, and fraud. Mr. LaPierre is no longer a defendant in this case.
“This is a resounding win for the NRA and all who support the Association in its pursuit of wrongdoers,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The NRA will continue to confront every false and misleading narrative against it. These developments not only vindicate Mr. LaPierre, but also put Dycio and others on notice: the NRA is determined to pursue those who defrauded the Association and abused the trust of its members.”