After revelations of corruption and self-dealing, it appears that the IRS has initiating a criminal investigation of the NRA’s executive VP Wayne LaPierre.
It appears that he did not learn the lesson of Al Capone:
The Internal Revenue Service is investigating longtime National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre for possible criminal tax fraud related to his personal taxes, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. LaPierre was paid $2.2 million by the NRA in 2018, the most recent year available, the nonprofit group’s public filings show. His total reported pay from 2014 to 2018 was $11.2 million.
In August, he was charged in a civil suit by New York Attorney GeneralLetitia James with taking millions of dollars of allegedly undisclosed compensation from the NRA and its vendors, in the form of free yacht trips, private jet flights for his family, exotic safaris and other benefits.
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 IRS’s criminal investigation is being reported for the first time by The Wall Street Journal.
If the IRS believes a taxpayer has underreported income, the agency often pursues the matter through a civil audit, claiming the taxpayer owes back taxes and penalties. To show criminal behavior, tax specialists said, the IRS would have to demonstrate that a taxpayer willfully underreported income, typically over multiple years.
It couldn’t be determined how far along the investigation is, and such probes can end with no charges filed.
Details of Mr. LaPierre’s lavish expenses began to emerge in early 2019 amid a boardroom rift. Leaked documents showed that Mr. LaPierre had charged more than $540,000 in clothing and luxury travel to Europe and the Bahamas to the NRA’s longtime ad firm.
The Journal later reported that the NRA paid for private jets to ferry around Mr. LaPierre’s relatives. The NRA has said the clothing and travel expenses had valid business justifications.
The August lawsuit by Ms. James’s office added new allegations, including that Mr. LaPierre and his relatives flew at least eight times in recent years to the Bahamas on private jets that cost the NRA more than $500,000.
Criminal tax cases involving executives of large nonprofits are rare. In the 1990s, the late William Aramony, then-CEO of United Way, was forced out and indicted on criminal charges that included tax fraud for siphoning money from the charity for lavish expenses. He served six years in prison.
LaPierre ending up behind bars, I’m like this story treatment.
I’d pay to watch that movie.