Yet another shoe has dropped at the National Rifle Association. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Internal Revenue Service has opened an investigation of EVP and CEO Wayne LaPierre for possible criminal tax fraud. The investigation stems from the current action against the NRA brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James who has filed suit in an attempt to dissolve the 149-year-old organization.
James’ suit alleges that LaPierre took millions of dollars in unreported income from the NRA and its vendors. From the WSJ report (paywall):
Asked at a news conference announcing the lawsuit whether she believed Mr. LaPierre had evaded personal taxes, Ms. James declined to comment but said she was referring the matter to the IRS.
The AG lawsuit claimed the NRA’s failure to include certain personal benefits in Mr. LaPierre’s W-2 annual-compensation forms “permitted him to file false personal tax returns with the IRS.”
P. Kent Correll, an attorney for Mr. LaPierre, said, “We’re not aware of any inquiry, so it would be premature for us to comment.”
As we noted in August, the alleged laundering of as much as $18 million in various expenses for things like luxury travel, clothes, apartments, and more through the NRA’s former marketing and advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, presented additional potential personal legal liability for LaPierre as well as other NRA executives.
The report of an IRS investigation into LaPierre seems to be next inevitable step in a process that isn’t likely to end will either for LaPierre or the NRA. The only question seems to be how long this will drag out and how much (more) damage it will do to the association.