Guilty as Charged and Dyeing Louisiana Redder

Corporations Corruption Non-Profit

             New Orleans       Back in the USA, shaking off a 16-hour flight from Delhi to Newark against headwinds, there was news aplenty, some of it good, some of it not so good.

Justice was served in a New York City court across the river, as a jury ruled conclusively that there had been more than mischief in the affairs of the National Rifle Association (NRA).  Wayne LaPierre, the longtime chieftain of the NRA, and a powerhouse lobbyist for guns, no matter how many fell from their misuse, was before the bar.  He had resigned from the organization on the eve of the trial that centered on misappropriations and self-dealing during his reign.  The case was brought by New York State Attorney General Laticia James, who recently won a $450 million verdict against Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization, because the NRA was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state.

After a week of deliberations, the jurors delivered a scorcher of a verdict against the NRA, finding that

…its leaders had engaged in a yearslong pattern of financial misconduct and corruption. The jury …found that the group’s former leader, Wayne LaPierre, had used N.R.A. funds to pay for personal expenses, including vacations, luxury flights for his relatives and yacht rides, and that two other top executives had failed in their duties to the nonprofit organization… Jurors found that LaPierre had misspent $5.4 million. He has repaid some of that sum, but must still repay $4.35 million.

That’s not all.  One of his buddies, who helped him with this mess, also has to pony up $2 million in repayment as well.

The NRA has more to worry about, having ignored whistleblowers repeatedly that could have put a stop to these shenanigans.  Furthermore,

The judge overseeing the case will decide in a second phase of the trial whether a monitor should be installed to oversee the N.R.A.’s administration of charitable assets, and whether LaPierre and Phillips should be barred from serving as officers or directors of any other New York nonprofits.

If this had been a union, there might be a monitor for years and years, as happened to the Teamsters and the Hotel workers’ union at different times.  All this might not permanently cripple the NRA, but it definitely shows its members and supporters what kind of outfit they really are.

The news was less rosy once I hit a beautiful, blue sky, spring day in New Orleans.  The new hard right Republican governor is madly trying to move the state to a darker shade of red.  After having cut school children off of food this summer and spending millions to send folks to Texas to help the governor there with his stunts along the border, in a special session he’s trying to turn back the prison reform from the last administration.  Most of the proposals have to do with tougher sentencing and restricting parole, all of which have been proven repeatedly not to retard crime.  He’s also trying to dissolve the state security apparatus to consolidate the power in his office. Not that it matters.  This is certainly pure meanness, but basically just politics of course, letting all of us know that it will that it will be a long, hard four years.

Luckily, home is where the heart is, because the rest of the body is in for a beating.