Ahead of a potentially damaging corruption trial, Wayne LaPierre announced Friday that he’s stepping down from his role as the CEO of the National Rifle Association for health reasons.
“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement. “I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom.”
Head of the country’s leading gun rights lobbying group since 1991, LaPierre’s resignation marks the end of an influential 30-plus-year reign. But while the NRA’s board of directors voted to re-elect LaPierre in 2022, the group has been plagued recently by worsening finances, declining membership numbers and steep legal bills. He had survived calls for his resignation in the past.
The NRA’s statement cited health reasons for LaPierre’s departure. The timing, however, is notable: He is due to stand trial Monday in a New York civil corruption case in which he and other executives are accused of using the organization as a “personal piggy bank.”
James alleges that LaPierre spent millions of dollars of the NRA’s charitable assets on “private plane trips for himself and his family,” including to the Bahamas. He also allegedly accepted gifts from NRA vendors, including the use of a 107-foot yacht and complimentary African safaris.
LaPierre is named as an individual defendant, which means he will still have to testify before a jury, despite his resignation.
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