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HomeGeneralNRA Leader Wayne LaPierre Steps Down Amid Corruption Case

NRA Leader Wayne LaPierre Steps Down Amid Corruption Case

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A picture of NRA Leader Wayne LaPierre
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National Rifle Association Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre has resigned. The embattled leader stepped down days before he faced a corruption trial in New York. “With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said.

“I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life,” he continued. “And I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.”

According to the NRA press release detailing LaPierre’s resignation, Andrew Arulanandam will take over for LaPierre as interim CEO. Arulanandam, previously the organization’s head of general operations, will pick up where LaPierre left off. He will become the executive vice president after LaPierre steps down on January 31, 2024. 

The longtime CEO cited health concerns as the reason for his resignation. However, the gun organization’s release addressed that LaPierre is “an individual defendant” in a corruption case. According to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, LaPierre and other top officials violated state and federal laws.

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The trial started on January 8, 2024, and grew out of a civil suit James initially filed in 2020. The suit alleged that LaPierre and other NRA leaders improperly used funds for personal gain. In addition, they participated in several financial wrongdoings and mismanagement. 

James’ effort aims in part to hobble the organization by ousting leaders like LaPierre. Hence, shortly after LaPierre’s announcement, James released a statement. The NYAG noted the “important victory” in the CEO’s resignation.

However, James emphasized that it would not impact the trial’s progression. “While the end of the Wayne LaPierre era is an important victory in our case,” James wrote. “Our push for accountability continues.”

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James said, “LaPierre’s resignation validates our claims against him, but it will not insulate him or the NRA from accountability.” She added, “All charities in New York state must adhere to the rule of law.”

Furthermore, James affirmed that her office “will not tolerate gross mismanagement or top executives funneling millions into their own pockets.” However, she emphasized that the case will advance, “and we look forward to proving the facts in court.”

Following LaPierre’s resignation, gun reform advocate Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said the NRA is weak. He said LaPierre’s departure from the NRA is “a signal of how weak” the organization has become.

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“The NRA is a shell of its former self,” Murphy told reporters. “And Wayne LaPierre’s exit is a signal of how weak the NRA has become.” William Brewer, the lead lawyer for the NRA, said the group is self-examining. Brewer said the group, established in New York in 1871, has taken steps to correct corporate practices.

In addition, he claimed that many of the witnesses James intends to call are no longer affiliated with the NRA. Before LaPierre’s career-ending corruption charges, the NRA has been under scrutiny in the past few years.

The organization, which has been hemorrhaging money as legal fees piled up, unsuccessfully filed for bankruptcy in 2021. However, with LaPierre’s scandal, things are not looking up for the organization, which has been experiencing membership decline since 2018.

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