"The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation related to the National Rifle Association (NRA)," spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said in an email. "As part of this investigation, the Attorney General has issued subpoenas."
William A. Brewer, the NRA's outside lawyer, says the organization "will fully cooperate with any inquiry into its finances." He added, "The NRA is prepared for this, and has full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance."
James, a Democrat, had vowed during her campaign last year to investigate the NRA's not-for-profit status if elected. "I will use the constitutional power as an attorney general to regulate charities, that includes the NRA, to investigate their legitimacy," she said at a July 12 rally.
News of the investigation came as a struggle for leadership of the NRA erupted at the gun lobby's annual convention in Indianapolis. Iran-Contra figure Oliver North announced Saturday that he would not serve a second term as the NRA's president. The move followed North's failed attempt to remove longtime NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
The factional rift within the NRA was fueled in part by the threatened New York investigation. The group began a review of all its contractors last summer after James promised to investigate. The review led the NRA to sue its longtime public relations firm, Oklahoma-based Ackerman McQueen, which some NRA officials complained was refusing to turn over financial records. North had taken the firm's side in the legal battle.
The NRA has clashed repeatedly with New York elected officials aiming to curb the organization's influence. The group filed a lawsuit last year against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials after New York fined insurance broker Lockton Cos. LLC $7 million for underwriting an NRA-branded insurance program called Carry Guard.