BREAKING: Wayne LaPierre Resigns On Eve of Civil Corruption Trial


Wayne LaPierre
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

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Today the National Rifle Association publicly announced that long-time Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre will formally step down from his leadership position at the end of January.  The embattled leader has faced all manner of criticism for a number of years which has culminated in a civil corruption trial that starts Monday in Manhattan.

LaPierre, originally hired as a lobbyist in the 1970s rose through the ranks to become the nation’s largest civil rights organization’s leader through the years.  More recently, he has become the public face of the NRA.

He cited health reasons for the sudden departure.  The head of General Operations Andrew Arulanandam will take the helm as CEO and Executive Vice President on an interim basis.

Donald Trump, Wayne LaPierre
President Donald Trump shakes hands with NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre as he arrives to speak to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Here’s the announcement from the NRA, in its entirety:

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) announced today that Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced he is stepping down from his position as chief executive of the organization, effective January 31. Long-time NRA executive and Head of General Operations Andrew Arulanandam will become the interim CEO & EVP of the NRA.

“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” says Wayne LaPierre. “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. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.”

During an NRA Board of Directors meeting today in Irving, Texas, NRA President Charles Cotton reported that he accepted LaPierre’s resignation. According to the NRA, LaPierre cited health reasons as a reason for his decision. The NRA continues its defense of a lawsuit by the New York Attorney General, and LaPierre is an individual defendant in that action. It is well-known that the NYAG vowed to pursue the NRA when she was candidate for her office and, upon being elected, filed a lawsuit to dissolve the Association in August 2020. Trial proceedings in that case begin Monday.

In March 2022, the NRA scored a major legal victory, when a New York court dismissed the NYAG’s claims to dissolve the organization. The court issued an opinion that vindicates the NRA’s position: the NYAG’s effort to shut down the Association ran afoul of common sense, New York law, and the First Amendment. Since then, the NRA maintains that it is committed to good governance. With respect to the NYAG’s allegations, the NRA Board of Directors reports it has undertaken significant efforts to perform a self-evaluation, recommended termination of disgraced “insiders” and vendors who allegedly abused the Association, and accepted reimbursement, with interest, for alleged excess benefit transactions from LaPierre, as reported in public tax filings.

LaPierre said, “I am proud of the NRA’s advocacy in New York and, through it all, determination to defend the Second Amendment. I can assure you the NRA’s mission, programming, and fight for freedom have never been more secure. What makes the NRA unlike any other advocacy organization is the depth and experience of its professional team, the unwavering support of its members, and its fighting spirit. I have enormous confidence in our board of directors, executive leadership team, and my long-time colleague Andrew Arulanandam. Andrew knows every facet of this organization and has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in every arena imaginable. Andrew knows how to help the NRA win – he’s been one of the key authors of our playbook for decades.”

Cotton said, “On behalf of the NRA Board of Directors, I thank Wayne LaPierre for his service. Wayne has done as much to protect Second Amendment freedom as anyone. Wayne is a towering figure in the fight for constitutional freedom, but one of his other talents is equally important: he built an organization that is bigger than him. Under the direction of Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA will continue to thrive – with a renewed energy in our business operations and grassroots advocacy. Our future is bright and secure.”

NPR reports it like this:

The longtime leader of what was once the nation’s most powerful gun rights group is leaving his post.

Wayne LaPierre steps down as he and other former NRA officials stand accused of misappropriating funds from the nonprofit to bankroll opulent lifestyles that included private jets, luxury vacations, and expensive dining. LaPierre has denied those allegations in a New York court.

In a statement Friday, NRA President Charles Cotton said LaPierre, who is 74, said he is resigning of health reasons. The gun group says it will continue to defend itself in the lawsuit brought by New York State.

LaPierre will leave his post at the end of the month.

“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement on the NRA’s website.

Stay tuned for more coverage of not only LaPierre’s sudden resignation on the eve of his trial, but of the trial itself here at TTAG.

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