Attorney General James Announces Settlement with Former NRA Senior Strategist on Eve of Trial
Joshua Powell was One of the Defendants in AG James’ Ongoing Case Against the National Rifle Association
Powell Admitted to AG James Claims of Wrongdoing against NRA and Defendants
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that Joshua Powell, former National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff to recently resigned NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, has reached a $100,000 agreement with her office. Powell was one of five defendants in the lawsuit brought by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) against the NRA and senior management in August 2020. As part of the agreement, Powell has admitted to OAG's claims of wrongdoing in its lawsuit. The trial of the claims against the NRA and the remaining defendants will begin on Monday, January 8.
“Joshua Powell’s admission of wrongdoing and Wayne LaPierre’s resignation confirm what we have alleged for years: the NRA and its senior leaders are financially corrupt,” said Attorney General James. “More than three years ago, my office sued the NRA and its senior management for financial abuse and mismanagement. These are important victories in our case, and we look forward to ensuring the NRA and the defendants face justice for their actions.”
The lawsuit brought by Attorney General James in August 2020 alleged that NRA senior management misappropriated millions of dollars to fund personal benefits, including private jets, expensive meals, and even family trips to the Bahamas. The NRA, as a New York-registered not-for-profit, charitable corporation, has legal obligations to use its funds for charitable purposes, not to support the lavish lifestyles of senior management and organization insiders. The OAG investigation found that instead of serving NRA members, senior management blatantly disregarded New York state and federal laws, and even internal NRA policies.
With today’s agreement Powell has admitted to failing in his fiduciary responsibilities and misusing charitable funds, just as Attorney General James alleged in the August 2020 lawsuit.
Since Attorney General James first filed against the NRA and its senior management in August 2020, the organization and senior management have worked to avoid taking responsibility for the serious violations of law. An effort by the NRA to dismiss Attorney General James’ complaint and change the court venue was rejected in January 2021. The NRA even filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2021 in an attempt to avoid accountability by trying to reorganize the organization in Texas. In May 2021, a federal bankruptcy court in Texas rejected the NRA’s bankruptcy petition, stating, “that the NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith.”
In March 2022, a second round of motions brought forward by the NRA, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer to try and dismiss the lawsuit was rejected. In June 2022, New York State Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen held that Attorney General James’ claims against the NRA’s wrongdoing are serious and viable, and are well within her office’s jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute. In September 2022, the Court rejected a third effort by the NRA to challenge the Attorney General’s claims and affirmed that Attorney General James can seek an independent monitor to oversee the NRA’s finances as part of her lawsuit. In January 2024, a final effort to delay the trial was rejected by the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, and the trial is set to proceed on January 8, 2024, as planned.